Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)

  Arizona Land Cover
Capital Phoenix
Largest City Phoenix
Area Ranked 6th
Total 113,634.57 sq mi
Population Ranked 20th
Total (2000) 5,130,632
Density 45.2/sq mi
Highest point Humphreys Peak 12,633 ft (3,851 m)
Lowest point Colorado River 70 ft (21 m)
Arizona Land Cover

Arizona can be divided into two geographic regions, the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range. The Colorado Plateau covers the north central part of the State which includes areas of evergreen tree cover, particularly ponderosa pine. In contrast, the Basin and Range region in the southern half of the State is a desert landscape dominated by shrubs and cactus. The greatest population densities occur in the Basin and Range region, with Phoenix dominating the urban landscape. Rivers such as the Colorado, Gila, and Little Colorado play important roles in the State by providing recreation, agricultural, and metropolitan use. Grand Canyon National Park, carved by the Colorado River, is the State’s most popular tourist attraction and is recognized as one of the natural wonders of the world. Lake Meade, Lake Havasu, and Lake Mohave are all reservoirs on the Colorado River that are utilized for recreation and aqueduct contribution.
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.