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US National Maps Attributing Forest Change: 1986-2010

Formally Refereed
Authors: Karen G. Schleeweis, Gretchen G. Moisen, Todd A. Schroeder, Chris Toney, Elizabeth A. Freeman, Samuel N. Goward, Chengquan Huang, Jennifer L. Dungan
Year: 2020
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Source: Forests. 11: 653.


National monitoring of forestlands and the processes causing canopy cover loss, be they abrupt or gradual, partial or stand clearing, temporary (disturbance) or persisting (deforestation), are necessary at fine scales to inform management, science and policy. This study utilizes the Landsat archive and an ensemble of disturbance algorithms to produce maps attributing event type and timing to > 258 million ha of contiguous Unites States forested ecosystems (1986-2010). Nationally, 75.95 million forest ha (759,531 km2) experienced change, with 80.6% attributed to removals, 12.4% to wildfire, 4.7% to stress and 2.2% to conversion. Between regions, the relative amounts and rates of removals, wildfire, stress and conversion varied substantially. The removal class had 82.3% (0.01 S.E.) user’s and 72.2% (0.02 S.E.) producer’s accuracy. A survey of available national attribution datasets, from the data user’s perspective, of scale, relevant processes and ecological depth suggests knowledge gaps remain.


forest cover loss, disturbance, conversion, attribution, Landsat time series, Random Forests, NAFD


Schleeweis, Karen G.; Moisen, Gretchen G.; Schroeder, Todd A.; Toney, Chris; Freeman, Elizabeth A.; Goward, Samuel N.; Huang, Chengquan; Dungan, Jennifer L. 2020. US National Maps Attributing Forest Change: 1986-2010. Forests. 11: 653.