Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)

  Arkansas Land Cover
Capital Little Rock
Largest City Little Rock
Area Ranked 29th
Total 52,068.17 sq mi
Population Ranked 33rd
Total (2000) 2,673,400
Density 51.3/sq mi
Highest point Mount Magazine 2,753 ft (840 m)
Lowest point Ouachita River 55 ft (17 m)
Arkansas Land Cover

Arkansas is comprised of five regions: the Ozark Plateau, the Arkansas River Valley, the Ouachita Mountains, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and the West Gulf Coastal Plain. The Ozark Plateau, located in the northwest, is characterized by its rugged, heavily forested hills and valleys. The Arkansas River Valley is located to the south, between the Ozark Plateau and the Ouachita Mountains. The Valley is characterized by its pastures and sporadic evergreen forest cover. The Ouchita Mountains, through which the Ouchita River flows, are located in the west central portion of the State and are characterized by their steep ridges and valleys. The Ouchitas are world famous for their hot springs, mineral resource utilization, and substantial pine forestry. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain covers the eastern third of the state. Cultivated croplands are the predominant land cover type in this region because of the rich alluvial soils brought by the Mississippi River. In the Southwest, the West Gulf Coastal Plain is a region dominated by pine forests that support a substantial wood-based industry and agricultural use.
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.