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Article

Application of Empirical Land-Cover Changes to Construct Climate Change Scenarios in Federally Managed Lands

1
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Geographic Science Center, P.O. Box 158, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
2
AFDS, Contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(15), 2360; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152360
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 15 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 July 2020 / Published: 23 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Remote Sensing of Land Surface Change)
Sagebrush-dominant ecosystems in the western United States are highly vulnerable to climatic variability. To understand how these ecosystems will respond under potential future conditions, we correlated changes in National Land Cover Dataset “Back-in-Time” fractional cover maps from 1985-2018 with Daymet climate data in three federally managed preserves in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem: Beaty Butte Herd Management Area, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. Future (2018 to 2050) abundance and distribution of vegetation cover were modeled at a 300-m resolution under a business-as-usual climate (BAU) scenario and a Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 climate change scenario. Spatially explicit map projections suggest that climate influences may make the landscape more homogeneous in the near future. Specifically, projections indicate that pixels with high bare ground cover become less bare ground dominant, pixels with moderate herbaceous cover contain less herbaceous cover, and pixels with low shrub cover contain more shrub cover. General vegetation patterns and composition do not differ dramatically between scenarios despite RCP 8.5 projections of +1.2 °C mean annual minimum temperatures and +7.6 mm total annual precipitation. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is forecast to undergo the most change, with both models projecting larger declines in bare ground and larger increases in average herbaceous and shrub cover compared to Beaty Butte Herd Management Area and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. These scenarios present plausible future outcomes intended to guide federal land managers to identify vegetation cover changes that may affect habitat condition and availability for species of interest. View Full-Text
Keywords: shrub; herbaceous; bare ground; land cover change; projections; modeling; climate; remote sensing; Landsat; federal lands; Great Basin shrub; herbaceous; bare ground; land cover change; projections; modeling; climate; remote sensing; Landsat; federal lands; Great Basin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Soulard, C.E.; Rigge, M. Application of Empirical Land-Cover Changes to Construct Climate Change Scenarios in Federally Managed Lands. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 2360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152360

AMA Style

Soulard CE, Rigge M. Application of Empirical Land-Cover Changes to Construct Climate Change Scenarios in Federally Managed Lands. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(15):2360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152360

Chicago/Turabian Style

Soulard, Christopher E., and Matthew Rigge. 2020. "Application of Empirical Land-Cover Changes to Construct Climate Change Scenarios in Federally Managed Lands" Remote Sensing 12, no. 15: 2360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152360

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