Land Cover Monitoring

The USDA Forest Service (USFS) Land Cover Mapping and Monitoring Program (LCMMP) that addresses statewide vegetation mapping and long-term monitoring using remotely sensed data.  Remotely sensed data and GIS (geographic information systems) are used to generate data that describe the extent and condition of various land cover types, and the magnitude and cause (e.g., urbanization, natural succession, wildfire, and timber harvest) of land cover changes.  The LCMMP provides a single, consistent source of current land cover data from which both USFS and CDF (as well as other interested federal, state and local governments and private citizens) can make informed resource management decisions.

The LCMMP is a collaborative approach to land cover mapping and monitoring that includes coordinated acquisition of resource photography, satellite imagery, and geo-processing on a five-year cycle.  This five-year cycle covers approximately 65 million acres of mixed federal, state and private forestland.  Project areas cover approximately 13 million acres and are the basis for organizing mapping and monitoring work.  At the beginning of the cycle for each project area, aerial photography and satellite imagery are acquired the summer before the monitoring work begins.  This is followed by vegetation and surface fuel map updates, forest inventory re-measurements in changed areas, and finally, trend analysis and resource assessment.

Monitoring addresses important issues at multiple scales.  Regionally, monitoring can identify critical causes of change or provide an early warning system for habitats being degraded.  Locally, monitoring can assess county land use policies, identify areas of insects or disease problems, or assess the extent of timber harvest in a watershed.  Additionally, monitoring serves a wide variety of interlocked objectives.

A cooperative effort was established in 2002 between the Pacific Southwest Region Forest Health Monitoring Programs and the Pacific Northwest Research Station – Forest Inventory and Analysis program (PNW-FIA) to implement a strategy to acquire multi-scale remotely sensed data and develop updated vegetation maps.  These data meet multiple needs including creating baseline 5-class maps for FIA to use to stratify plot locations and provide key information for resource managers, professionals and scientists across the Pacific.  In addition, developing these datasets cross program areas including Cooperative Forestry’s Forest Stewardship programs by providing necessary information to the Spatial Analysis Project. These mapping efforts have enabled many agencies and Island governments to take advantage of state-of-the art, current image data as well as updated vegetation maps.  Future activities include creating change products showing land use and land cover changes on each of the US Affiliated Islands.  The US Affiliated Islands that the USDA Forest Service has responsibility for include:  the State of Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, American Samoa, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Click here for more on land cover monitoring of the U.S. Affiliated Islands...



Contact Information:

Forest Health Monitoring
1731 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95618
(530) 759-1748