Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)

  Kansas Land Cover
Capital Topeka
Largest City Wichita
Area Ranked 15th
Total 81,814.88 sq mi
Population Ranked 33rd
Total (2000) 2,688,418
Density 32.9/sq mi
Highest point Mount Sunflower 4,039 ft (1,231 m)
Lowest point Verdigris River 679 ft (207 m)
Kansas Land Cover

Kansas is divided into two geographic regions, the Central Lowlands and the Great Plains. The Central Lowlands cover the eastern third of the state and contain a mixture of shallow valleys and rolling plains. The flat landscape of eastern Kansas is briefly segmented by an area of prominent ridges known as the Flint Hills. The limestone-rich Flint Hills are home to most of America's remaining tall grass prairies and many of Kansas' largest ranches. The Great Plains cover central and western Kansas. This region is divided in two sections, the Plains Border, and the High Plains. The Plains Border is an area of transition from hilly features to rolling plains. The High Plains region is characterized by its semiarid climate supporting short grass prairie and scrub vegetation along rolling plateaus. Despite being labeled as a flat state, the State's elevation increases gradually from the Verdigris River Valley near the Oklahoma border (679 ft) to Mount Sunflower (4,039 ft) in northwestern Kansas.
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.