Long time series of Landsat satellite imagery are a rich source of information about how land cover has changed over the years. Landsat has recorded spatial patterns of disturbance and recovery in forests that are critical for understanding trends in resources such as carbon, water, habitat, and fiber.
In conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and numerous universities, the Forest Service is leading the Landscape Change Monitoring System (LCMS) Science Team. This group is comprised of remote sensing scientists to identify and improve the state of the art in processing Landsat time series for land cover change mapping.
Several of the latest change detection algorithms are being tested against validation data in six diverse areas of the U.S. (see red polygons on map labeled by Landsat frame). Novel approaches to integrating the products of these algorithms are also being explored, with the intent of providing managers and scientists with a “best-available” map of forest change. Results of this team’s work are planned for operational implemented by the LCMS production team by the end of 2015.
The initial developmental phase is funded through the Forest Service’s Information Resources Direction Board as an extension of the successful inter-agency Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity Project.