Principal Investigator:

CO Investigators:

WRI Land & Carbon Lab, Bezos Earth Fund

Time period:


Graduate Researchers:


The project is aimed at building and implementing a global land cover and land use monitoring system with outputs suitable for tracking global environmental change over the next 5 years. Land cover and land use is a first order measure of environmental dynamics, foundational to enabling downstream applications concerning carbon emissions and sequestration, changes to land surface temperature and albedo, impacts on hydrologic systems, and losses of biodiversity.

Global land cover and land use themes include:
• Annual tree cover, consisting of tree cover extent, and gross gain and loss per pixel and land use/change factors attributed, including fire, disease, storm and other natural causes, and mechanical disturbance characterized into forestry, smallholder agriculture and deforestation categories; a final product will discriminate major commodity forestry/plantation types, including palm and rubber
• Annual short vegetation cover, which in year two will be divided into shrub and herbaceous components and in year three pasture land attributed
• Annual surface water, with change dynamics characterized into permanent loss/gain, and intra-annual and inter-annual dynamics
• Annual permanent ice
• Annual permanent cropland extent with each year having a commodity crop added as a sub-category, including soybean, wheat, maize, rice and sugar cane
• Annual built-up land with subsequent subcategories of settlements and infrastructure, settlements further subdivided into residential and commercial land uses and infrastructure divided into roads versus other transportation types
• Annual bare ground, with gains attributed to mining and natural causes
• Wetlands will be mapped as a static layer used with other topographic information to disaggregate land cover and land use dynamics by climate/ecozones.

Project Description:

Preliminary project results:

Global Land Cover Change map prototype:

2019 Land Cover and Land Use map:

Global Land Cover and Land Use Change, 2000-2020: