Recent land-use/land-cover change in the Central California Valley

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Soulard, Christopher E., and Tamara S. Wilson
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Open access to Landsat satellite data has enabled annual analyses of modern land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) for the Central California Valley ecoregion between 2005 and 2010. Our annual LULCC estimates capture landscape-level responses to water policy changes, climate, and economic instability. From 2005 to 2010, agriculture in the region fluctuated along with regulatory-driven changes in water allocation as well as persistent drought conditions. Grasslands and shrublands declined, while developed lands increased in former agricultural and grassland/shrublands. Development rates stagnated in 2007, coinciding with the onset of the historic foreclosure crisis in California and the global economic downturn. We utilized annual LULCC estimates to generate interval-based LULCC estimates (2000–2005 and 2005–2010) and extend existing 27 year interval-based land change monitoring through 2010. Resulting change data provides insights into the drivers of landscape change in the Central California Valley ecoregion and represents the first, continuous, 37 year mapping effort of its kind.


Soulard, Christopher E., and Tamara S. Wilson. 2015. “Recent Land-Use/Land-Cover Change in the Central California Valley.” Journal of Land Use Science 10 (1): 59–80. doi:10.1080/1747423X.2013.841297.