The LandCarbon project is designed to fulfill the requirements of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, Section 712, which mandated that the Department of Interior conduct an assessment of carbon storage, carbon sequestration, and fluxes of major greenhouse gases in and out of ecosystems across the Nation. Using scientific capabilities from the USGS and other organizations, the assessment covers all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, is conducted for all 50 states, provides estimates of baseline as well as future potential carbon storage and greenhouse gas fluxes, and analyzes the effects of major natural and anthropogenic processes that impact ecosystem carbon storage and greenhouse gas fluxes. Major natural and anthropogenic processes include climate change, wildfire, land use change, and land management activities.
This assessment would not have been possible without critical remote sensing data derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat satellite sensors, especially Landsat-derived products like Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS), LANDFIRE, National Land Cover Database (NLCD), and Land Cover Trends (LCT) data. These products were used in LandCarbon to characterize and quantify historic land change and wildfire emissions, and to parameterize and validate statistical and process-based simulation models to project changes in carbon stocks and fluxes in response to potential changes in land cover, land use, and disturbances.
Diagram of the terrestrial ecosystems and major carbon pools covered in the assessment