SCO Project: Statewide Land Cover
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Project Leads: Howard VereginJim Lacy, Mutlu Ozdogan (UW Forest & Wildlife Ecology)

Project Team: Carly Mertes, Matthew Bougie

(May 1, 2014 - June 30, 2016)

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are partnering on a project to map the current vegetation, water, and urban patterns (“land cover”) of Wisconsin.  The resulting digital database will replace a statewide land cover map created by DNR using 1991-1993 data.  Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.

Using data from the U.S. Government’s Landsat series of satellites, the project team will map the occurrence of 40 or more different types of vegetation commonly found in Wisconsin.  At the most basic level, the state will be divided into broad “level 1” land cover classes such as agriculture, forest, wetland, and open water.  Each of these broad classes will be  further subdivided into more detailed “level 2” sub-classes.  The forest class, for example, will be further mapped as coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests.  To the extent possible,  the project team will also map certain species-level vegetation types such as Jack Pine, White Spruce, Maple, and Oak.  The satellite mapping will be supported by extensive field work to gather training data and obtain accuracy assessment information.

For more information, see our pdfLand Cover Project Infosheet.

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