Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-331
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-331
 
21 Nov 2022
21 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Not just crop or forest: building an integrated land cover map for agricultural and natural areas

Melanie Kammerer1,2, Aaron L. Iverson3, Kevin Li4, and Sarah C. Goslee1 Melanie Kammerer et al.
  • 1USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA 16802, USA
  • 2Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN 37860, USA
  • 3Department of Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University, Caton, NY, 13617, USA
  • 4School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA

Abstract. Due to our increasing understanding of the role the surrounding landscape plays in ecological processes, a detailed characterization of land cover, including both agricultural and natural habitats, is ever more important for both researchers and conservation practitioners. Unfortunately, in the United States, different types of land cover data are split across thematic datasets that emphasize agricultural or natural vegetation, but not both. To address this data gap and reduce duplicative efforts in geospatial processing, we merged two major datasets, the LANDFIRE National Vegetation Classification (NVC) and USDA-NASS Cropland Data Layer (CDL), to produce an integrated land cover map. Our workflow leveraged strengths of the NVC and the CDL to produce detailed rasters comprising both agricultural and natural land-cover classes. We generated these maps for each year from 2012–2021 for the conterminous United States, quantified agreement between input layers and accuracy of our merged product and published the complete workflow necessary to update these data. In our validation analyses, we found that approximately 5.5 % of NVC agricultural pixels conflicted with the CDL, but we resolved most of these conflicts based on surrounding agricultural land, leaving only 0.6 % of agricultural pixels unresolved in our merged product. These ready-to-use rasters characterizing both agricultural and natural land cover will be widely useful in environmental research and management.

Melanie Kammerer et al.

Status: open (until 16 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Melanie Kammerer et al.

Data sets

Data from: Not just crop or forest: building an integrated land cover map for agricultural and natural areas (tabular files) Kammerer, Melanie; Iverson, Aaron L.; Li, Kevin; Goslee, Sarah C https://doi.org/10.15482/USDA.ADC/1527977

Data from: Not just crop or forest: building an integrated land cover map for agricultural and natural areas (spatial files) Kammerer, Melanie; Iverson, Aaron L.; Li, Kevin; Goslee, Sarah C https://doi.org/10.15482/USDA.ADC/1527978

Model code and software

Code from: Not just crop or forest: building an integrated land cover map for agricultural and natural areas Kammerer, M https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6803199

Melanie Kammerer et al.

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Short summary
Researchers and land managers need reliable maps of agricultural and natural land, but current maps of land cover include information on agriculture or natural land, not both. To solve this problem, we joined two existing maps of land cover to create U.S. national maps for 2012–2021. Our maps show the location and amount of specific crops and many types of natural habitats. We expect these maps will be widely useful for agricultural and environmental research, conservation, and land management.