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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9494-9510; doi:10.3390/rs6109494

Land Cover Characterization and Mapping of South America for the Year 2010 Using Landsat 30 m Satellite Data

1,†,* and 2,†
1
Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
2
Inu Teq, Contractor to U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA. Work performed under USGS contract G13PC00028
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 3 September 2014 / Accepted: 3 September 2014 / Published: 8 October 2014
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Abstract

Detailed and accurate land cover and land cover change information is needed for South America because the continent is in constant flux, experiencing some of the highest rates of land cover change and forest loss in the world. The land cover data available for the entire continent are too coarse (250 m to 1 km) for resource managers, government and non-government organizations, and Earth scientists to develop conservation strategies, formulate resource management options, and monitor land cover dynamics. We used Landsat 30 m satellite data of 2010 and prepared the land cover database of South America using state-of-the-science remote sensing techniques. We produced regionally consistent and locally relevant land cover information by processing a large volume of data covering the entire continent. Our analysis revealed that in 2010, 50% of South America was covered by forests, 2.5% was covered by water, and 0.02% was covered by snow and ice. The percent forest area of South America varies from 9.5% in Uruguay to 96.5% in French Guiana. We used very high resolution (<5 m) satellite data to validate the land cover product. The overall accuracy of the 2010 South American 30-m land cover map is 89% with a Kappa coefficient of 79%. Accuracy of barren areas needs to improve possibly using multi-temporal Landsat data. An update of land cover and change database of South America with additional land cover classes is needed. The results from this study are useful for developing resource management strategies, formulating biodiversity conservation strategies, and regular land cover monitoring and forecasting. View Full-Text
Keywords: land cover; mapping; Landsat; South America; image processing; validation land cover; mapping; Landsat; South America; image processing; validation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Giri, C.; Long, J. Land Cover Characterization and Mapping of South America for the Year 2010 Using Landsat 30 m Satellite Data. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 9494-9510.

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