Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)

  Alabama Land Cover
Capital Montgomery
Largest City Birmingham
Area Ranked 30th
Total 50,744.00 sq mi
Population Ranked 23rd
Total (2000) 4,599,030
Density 87.6/sq mi
Highest point Mount Cheaha 2,407 ft (734 m)
Lowest point Gulf of Mexico 0 ft (0 m)
Alabama Land Cover

Alabama is comprised of five distinct regions-the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont Upland, the Alabama Valley and Ridge, the Cumberland Plateau, and the Highland Rim. The Coastal Plain covers nearly two-thirds of the State and is composed of woody wetlands in the south, fertile agricultural land in the middle, and pine forests in the north. The Piedmont Upland, northwest of the Coastal Plain, is characterized by its forested hills and valleys that are rich in natural resources like coal, limestone, and marble. Northwest of the Piedmont, the Alabama Valley is similar in land cover and natural resources but differs topographically, because of its numerous valleys and ridges. The Cumberland Plateau is characterized by its rolling hills and areas of flat terrain. The majority of the States pastures and grasslands are found in the Cumberland Plateau region. The Highland Rim, found in the northwestern corner of the State, is utilized for a variety of agricultural commodities ranging from corn to hay. Major rivers in the State include: the Tombigbee River, Alabama River, Tennessee River, and the Chattahoochee River. Along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, a significant fishing industry thrives.
The Importance of Land Cover Information

Scientists working in the USGS are among the leaders in the study of land cover. Land cover refers to the vegetation and artificial structures that cover the land's surface. Examples of land cover include trees, grass, crops, wetlands, water, buildings, and pavement. As scientists study land cover, they are also studying land use. Land use involves human activities that take place on the land such as farming, grazing, logging, and recreation. Land cover scientists use satellite images and other remotely sensed imagery to assess national and global land cover characteristics and monitor how - and how rapidly - land cover changes. They also study the economic impacts of land cover change as well as its effects on water quality, the spread of invasive species, habitat and biodiversity loss, climate variability, and other environmental factors. Scientists require up-to-date land cover information to accurately understand current conditions and to assess the extent and impacts of land cover change on the Earth system.