National Park Service

Great Lakes Network (GLKN)

Land Cover & Land Use Monitoring

Old depot at Grand Portage National Monument
Old depot at Grand Portage National Monument

GLKN Land Cover & Land Use Monitoring Briefs

GLKN Land Cover & Land Use Monitoring Reports

GLKN Landsat-based Monitoring of Landscape Dynamics Protocol Narrative, and GLKN Standard Operating Procedures

MODIS Satellite Image Scenes for Apostle Islands and SW Lake Superior areas

For more information contact: Ulf Gafvert


Landscape scale analysis provides a way to identify the pattern, arrangement, and interactions of the numerous habitats existing in and around the parks. Examining these patterns over time can reveal changes in land cover and land use that may be impacting the biological communities and ecosystem functions within parks. This has significant applications toward natural resource management at the park level, and provides context and integration for other components of the Network's monitoring program. Effects of land cover changes on resource health and sustainability commonly include changes in fragmentation, water quality, edge effects, spread of exotics, changes in the effective size of natural areas, flow of energy, nutrient cycling, and overall ecological condition.

Long-term Monitoring

The goal of the land cover and land use monitoring program (LCLU) for the nine parks in the Great Lakes Network (GLKN ) is to monitor changes in the landscape over time in and around park areas. Land cover is the observed physical cover, including the vegetation (natural or planted) and human constructions (buildings, roads, etc.) that cover the earth's surface. Land use is based upon function, the purpose for which the land is being used. We are exploring techniques in remote sensing using a dense time-stack of moderate resolution satellite imagery (Landsat) to detect areas of change, and then using high resolution imagery (aerial photography) to identify and confirm those changes, whether due to natural or human-related disturbances. The resulting products will constitute a land cover change map. Analysis involves quantifying disturbance events and documenting trends in development, fragmentation, road density, and land cover patch dynamics. Metrics include area and percent land cover change per year, types and frequency of disturbance, patterns of connectivity and fragmentation, and changes in road and building density. Current plans are to complete this for each park every six-years.

Network Park Units Monitored

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster