Forest service contributions to the national land cover database (NLCD): Tree Canopy Cover ProductionThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
A tree canopy cover (TCC) layer is one of three elements in the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2011 suite of nationwide geospatial data layers. In 2010, the USDA Forest Service (USFS) committed to creating the TCC layer as a member of the Multi-Resolution Land Cover (MRLC) consortium. A general methodology for creating the TCC layer was reported at the 2012 FIA Symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee by several USFS researchers. Since that time, remote sensing specialists at the USFS Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) have translated those methods into a process capable of being implemented over the Contiguous United States, Coastal Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
This paper describes the products produced by the NLCD 2011 TCC team, the challenges encountered, and the solutions devised while creating this Landsat grained map over the entire nation. The NLCD TCC 2011 was produced in two forms. The first is called the analytical dataset and is intended primarily for purposes of research and analysis. This dataset has two data layers, which are a per pixel estimate of tree canopy cover and a per pixel estimate of standard error. The second form of NCLD TCC 2011 is called the cartographic dataset and is intended primarily as an image backdrop or map display. This dataset consists of a single layer – tree canopy cover – that is a statistically masked version of the analytical dataset. Both versions of the NLCD TCC dataset are distributed through the MRLC NLCD website (http://www.mrlc.gov).