Conterminous United States Land-Cover Change (1985–2016): New Insights from Annual Time Series

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Abstract

Sample-based estimates augmented by complete coverage land-cover maps were used to estimate area and describe patterns of annual land-cover change across the conterminous United States (CONUS) between 1985 and 2016. Most of the CONUS land cover remained stable in terms of net class change over this time, but a substantial gross change dynamic was captured by the annual and cumulative time intervals. The dominant types of changes can be grouped into natural resource cycles, increases in urbanization, and surface-water dynamics. The annual estimates over the 30-year time series showed a reduction in the rate of urban expansion after 2006, new growth in cropland after 2007, but a net overall decline in cropland since 1985, and two eras of net tree cover loss, the first one early in the time series and the second starting in 2012. Our study provides a holistic assessment of the CONUS land-cover conversion (class) change and can serve as a new benchmark for future research.

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Auch, R. F., Wellington, D. F., Taylor, J. L., Stehman, S. V., Tollerud, H. J., Brown, J. F., … Reker, R. R. (2022). Conterminous United States Land-Cover Change (1985–2016): New Insights from Annual Time Series. Land, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020298

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