Four-century history of land transformation by humans in the United States (1630–2020): annual and 1 km grid data for the HIStory of LAND changes (HISLAND-US)
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Four-century history of land transformation by humans in the United States (1630–2020): annual and 1 km grid data for the HIStory of LAND changes (HISLAND-US)

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  • Journal Title:
    Earth System Science Data
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    The land of the conterminous United States (CONUS) has been transformed dramatically by humans over the last four centuries through land clearing, agricultural expansion and intensification, and urban sprawl. High-resolution geospatial data on long-term historical changes in land use and land cover (LULC) across the CONUS are essential for predictive understanding of natural–human interactions and land-based climate solutions for the United States. A few efforts have reconstructed historical changes in cropland and urban extent in the United States since the mid-19th century. However, the long-term trajectories of multiple LULC types with high spatial and temporal resolutions since the colonial era (early 17th century) in the United States are not available yet. By integrating multi-source data, such as high-resolution remote sensing image-based LULC data, model-based LULC products, and historical census data, we reconstructed the history of land use and land cover for the conterminous United States (HISLAND-US) at an annual timescale and 1 km × 1 km spatial resolution in the past 390 years (1630–2020). The results show widespread expansion of cropland and urban land associated with rapid loss of natural vegetation. Croplands are mainly converted from forest, shrub, and grassland, especially in the Great Plains and North Central regions. Forest planting and regeneration accelerated the forest recovery in the Northeast and Southeast since the 1920s. The geospatial and long-term historical LULC data from this study provide critical information for assessing the LULC impacts on regional climate, hydrology, and biogeochemical cycles as well as achieving sustainable use of land in the nation. The datasets are available at (Li et al., 2022).
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    Earth System Science Data, 15(2), 1005-1035
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    CC BY
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