High-resolution Projections of Land Use and Natural Vegetation Change in the Great Plains

Authors: Terry Sohl*, USGS EROS , Jordan Dornbierer, SGT Inc., Steve Wika, SGT Inc.
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Planning Geography
Keywords: land use,model,projection,Great Plains,scenario,climate
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Poydras, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Geographers commonly use national-scale landscape data derived from remote sensing imagery, such as National Land Cover Database, LANDFIRE, or the Cropland Data Layer. Future or historical projections facilitate temporal assessments of landscape interactions with ecological and societal processes, but existing models are unable to match the spatial, temporal, and thematic characteristics of these data. A new version of USGS’s FORE-SCE model was used to produce unprecedented landscape projections with 1) high spatial resolution (30-meter cells), 2) high thematic resolution (29 classes), 3) broad spatial extent, 4) use of real land ownership boundaries to ensure realistic representation of landscape patterns, and 5) representation of both anthropogenic land use and natural vegetation change. Eleven unique land-use scenarios for a large portion of the Great Plains were modeled from 2014 to 2100, including 1) a "business-as-usual" scenario based on recent trends (2001 to 2011) from NLCD, 2) three "Billion Ton Update" biofuel scenarios from the US Department of Energy, 3) four Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios based on the older Special Report on Emissions Scenarios framework, and 4) three IPCC scenarios based on the newer Representative Concentration Pathways framework. Modeled land use and natural vegetation classes were responsive to projected future changes in environmental conditions, including changes in groundwater and water access. These data are being used by a wide range of research collaborators to examine landscape impacts on biodiversity, hydrology, pollinators, and other ecosystem services.

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