Applications of national land cover maps in United States forestry
Land cover maps derived from satellite imagery have a long and varied history of uses in United States forestry science and management. This article reviews recent developments concerning the use of national- to continental-scale land cover maps for inventory, monitoring, and resource assessment in the U.S. Forest Service. The use of mid-scale digital resolution information (from 10 to 30 meters) is ideal for many forest applications from stand exams to watershed assessments of numerous forest related attributes. Forest and landscape patterns can be meaningfully assessed at those spatial scales as well, and consistent national land cover maps are required for conducting consistent national assessments of forest patterns. National and continental strategies for land cover mapping should recognize that almost all forest inventory, monitoring, and assessment applications require map comparisons over time, and an ideal temporal frequency for most applications is no more than five years.