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U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1794–A

Status and Trends of Land Change in the Western United States—1973 to 2000

Edited by Benjamin M. Sleeter, Tamara S. Wilson, and William Acevedo

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (61.3 MB)Preface

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Professional Paper 1794–A is the first in a four-volume series on the status and trends of the Nation’s land use and land cover, providing an assessment of the rates and causes of land-use and land-cover change in the Western United States between 1973 and 2000. Volumes B, C, and D provide similar analyses for the Great Plains, the Midwest–South Central United States, and the Eastern United States, respectively. The assessments of land-use and land-cover trends are conducted on an ecoregion-by-ecoregion basis, and each ecoregion assessment is guided by a nationally consistent study design that includes mapping, statistical methods, field studies, and analysis. Individual assessments provide a picture of the characteristics of land change occurring in a given ecoregion; in combination, they provide a framework for understanding the complex national mosaic of change and also the causes and consequences of change. Thus, each volume in this series provides a regional assessment of how (and how fast) land use and land cover are changing, and why. The four volumes together form the first comprehensive picture of land change across the Nation.

Geographic understanding of land-use and land-cover change is directly relevant to a wide variety of stakeholders, including land and resource managers, policymakers, and scientists. The chapters in this volume present brief summaries of the patterns and rates of land change observed in each ecoregion in the Western United States, together with field photographs, statistics, and comparisons with other assessments. In addition, a synthesis chapter summarizes the scope of land change observed across the entire Western United States. The studies provide a way of integrating information across the landscape, and they form a critical component in the efforts to understand how land use and land cover affect important issues such as the provision of ecological goods and services and also the determination of risks to, and vulnerabilities of, human communities. Results from this project also are published in peer-reviewed journals, and they are further used to produce maps of change and other tools for land management, as well as to provide inputs for carbon-cycle modeling and other climate change research.

This report is only one of the products produced by USGS on land-use and land-cover change in the United States. Other reports and land-cover statistics are available online at

First posted December 5, 2012
Last modified June 21, 2013

  • 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, CA 94025

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Suggested citation:

Sleeter, B.M., Wilson, T.S., and Acevedo, W., eds., 2012, Status and trends of land change in the Western United States—1973 to 2000: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1794–A, 324 p. (Available at





Author Affiliations

Regional Synthesis

   Land-Cover Trends in the Western United States—1973 to 2000

Marine West Coast Forests Ecoregions

   1. Coast Range Ecoregion

   2. Puget Lowland Ecoregion

   3. Willamette Valley Ecoregion

Rocky Mountains Ecoregions

   4. Canadian Rockies Ecoregion

   5. Middle Rockies Ecoregion

   6. Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion

   7. Northern Rockies Ecoregion

   8. Southern Rockies Ecoregion

   9. Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Ecoregion

   10. Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion

Western Mountain Ranges Ecoregions

   11. Cascades Ecoregion

   12. Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills Ecoregion

   13. Klamath Mountains Ecoregion

   14. North Cascades Ecoregion

   15. Sierra Nevada Ecoregion

   16. Blue Mountains Ecoregion

Mediterranean California Ecoregions

   17. Central California Valley Ecoregion

   18. Southern California Mountains Ecoregion

   19. Southern and Central California Chaparral and Oak Woodlands Ecoregion

Cold Deserts Ecoregions

   20. Central Basin and Range Ecoregion

   21. Colorado Plateaus Ecoregion

   22. Columbia Plateau Ecoregion

   23. Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion

   24. Snake River Basin Ecoregion

   25. Wyoming Basin Ecoregion

   26. Arizona/New Mexico Plateau Ecoregion

Warm Deserts Ecoregions

   27. Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregion

   28. Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion

   29. Mojave Basin and Range Ecoregion

   30. Sonoran Basin and Range Ecoregion

Appendixes 1–4

   Appendix 1. Map of Ecoregions in Conterminous United States

   Appendix 2. Abbreviations for Western United States Ecoregions

   Appendix 3. Land-Cover Classification System Used in “Status and Trends of Land Change“ Study

   Appendix 4. Methodology Used in “Status and Trends of Land Change“ Study

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