Land use/land cover: Quantifying how our world changes
Using remote sensing to quantify land use/land cover change allows us to track changes vegetation cover, productivity, and health for large regions over time.
The image above is an example of how remote sensing helps us identify these changes. The images above show changes in agricultural usage along the Nebraska portion of the Platte River Basin.
To change the view, click on the labels under the image (1982, 1997, 2001, 2005) to see how Nebraska's crops and pastureland has changed in three decades. Maps were prepared as a part of the CALMIT COHYST project.
Land use/land cover change can also be used to describe other important landscape-level changes such as habitat quality, vegetation fragmentation, biodiversity, and much more.
What do the maps tell us?
Soybeans became a more dominant crop throughout Nebraska, primarily displacing corn; cultivation of small grains declined, particularly in the southwestern portion of the study area, giving way to rangeland; open water areas, diminished in 2005 when compared to other years.
Download the full-sized maps COHYST data download page.
Dappen, P. R., Ratcliffe, I. C., Robbins, C. R., & Merchant, J. W. 2008. Mapping agricultural land cover for hydrologic modeling in the Platte River watershed of Nebraska. Great Plains Research, 18(1), 39–52.