This report presents a science strategy for the geographic research of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for the years 2005-2015. The common thread running through the vision, mission, and science goals presented in the plan is that USGS geographers will provide national leadership to understand coupled human-environmental systems in the face of land change and will deliver pertinent information to decisionmakers on the vulnerability and resilience of these systems. We define land change science as the study of the human and environment dynamics that give rise to changed land use, cover, and surface form.
A number of realities shape the strategic context of this plan:
The first four science goals in the plan support understanding the human and environmental dynamics of land change. Each science goal has an associated set of strategic actions to achieve the goal. These goals and actions are consistent with national science priorities and the Department of Interior and USGS missions, take advantage of existing expertise, and lead to the strengthening of critical geographic research capacities that do not exist in other USGS disciplines.
First posted September 21, 2011
Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.
McMahon, Gerard, and others, 2005, Geography for a Changing World – A Science Strategy for the Geographic Research of the U.S. Geological Survey, 2005-2015, Sioux Falls, SD: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1281, 76 pages
List of Acronyms
Geographic Research and the USGS Mission
Goal 1: Characterize and quantify land surface status and trends to provide a framework for understanding change patterns and processes from local to global scales
Goal 2: Identify local, regional, national, and global drivers of land change to forecast plausible land change scenarios over the next 20-50 years
Goal 3: Understand past, present, and future environmental consequences of land change to support better management of their effect on people, environment, economy, and resources
Goal 4: Improve the scientific basis for vulnerability and risk assessment, mitigation, response, and recovery related to the human and environmental dynamics of land change
Goal 5. Develop credible and accessible geographic research, tools, and methods to support decisionmaking related to the human and environmental consequences of land change
Goal 6: Develop and test hypotheses about the use of geographic regions to understand the human and environmental dynamics of land change
Goal 7: Observe the Earth at all scales using remote sensing to understand the human and environmental dynamics of land change
Goal 8: Provide timely, intelligent access to new and archived USGS geographic data needed to conduct science and support policy decisions
Goal 9: Develop innovative methods of modeling and information synthesis, fusion, and visualization to improve our ability to explore geographic data and create new knowledge