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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3080

Land-Cover Change Research at the U.S. Geological Survey—Assessing Our Nation’s Dynamic Land Surface

By Tamara S. Wilson

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.3 MB)Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed an unprecedented, 27-year assessment of land-use and land-cover change for the conterminous United States. For the period 1973 to 2000, scientists generated estimates of change in major types of land use and land cover, such as development, mining, agriculture, forest, grasslands, and wetlands. To help provide the insight that our Nation will need to make land-use decisions in coming decades, the historical trends data is now being used by the USGS to help model potential future land use/land cover under different scenarios, including climate, environmental, economic, population, public policy, and technological change.

Last modified September 22, 2011
First posted September 2, 2011

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information:
Contact Information, Western Geographic Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 531
Menlo Park, California 94025

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Suggested citation:

Wilson, T.S., 2011, Land-cover change research at the U.S. Geological Survey—assessing our nation’s dynamic land surface: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3080, 2 p., available at

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