Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)

  Indiana Land Cover
Capital Indianapolis
Largest City Indianapolis
Area Ranked 38th
Total 35,866.90 sq mi
Population Ranked 14th
Total (2000) 6,080,485
Density 169.5/sq mi
Highest point Hoosier Hill 1,257 ft (383 m)
Lowest point Ohio River 320 ft (98 m)
Indiana Land Cover

Indiana consists of three land regions: the Great Lakes Plains, the Till Plains, and the Southern Plains and Lowlands. The Great Lakes Plains region is located in the northern third of Indiana. Cultivated crops and pasture are the predominant land cover types in the Great Lakes Plains region. Urban development is notable along the Lake Michigan coastline and along the transcontinental Interstate 80. The Till Plains, located in the central third of the State, are dominated by cultivated crop land cover. Corn and soybeans are the most profitable agricultural commodities. Deciduous/coniferous forest and pasture cover can be found sporadically throughout the region. Indianapolis, the State’s largest city and capital, is located in the Till Plains region. The Southern Plains and Lowlands are located in the southern third of State, and is the region with the hilliest topography. This rugged landscape is characterized by deciduous and coniferous forests that support a wood-based industry whose main export product is furniture. Other land cover types observed in this region include cultivated crops and pasture.
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.