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The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)


  Louisiana Land Cover
Capital Baton Rouge
Largest City New Orleans
Area Ranked 31st
Total 43,561.85 sq mi
Population Ranked 22nd
Total (2000) 4,468,976
Density 102.6/sq mi
Elevation
Highest point Driskill Mountain 535 ft (163 m)
Lowest point New Orleans -8 ft (-2 m)
Louisiana Land Cover

Louisiana consists of three land regions: the East Gulf Coastal Plain, Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and the West Gulf Coastal Plain. The East Gulf Coastal Plain is located in eastern Louisiana, north of Lake Ponchartrain. The land near the lake is low lying and water and wetlands are the predominant land cover types. Further inland, pasture and mixed forest cover are found within the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The fertile rich Mississippi Alluvial Plain covers one-third of the State and follows the Mississippi River as it flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Cotton, rice, and sugar cane (south of Baton Rouge) are the most profitable agricultural commodities in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The West Gulf Coastal region is located in western Louisiana. Near the Gulf Coast, wetlands are the dominant land cover type. North of the coast, the land is characterized by its heavy forest cover with pasture and woody wetland cover interspersed throughout the region. Pine forest is the major land cover of western Louisiana and supports a substantial commercial forestry industry. The highest elevations are found in the northern part of this region.
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.