In order to effectively plan and manage for retention of biological diversity on a regional or national scale, natural resource agencies need a method for characterizing and monitoring land cover and how it changes over time. The Gap Analysis Program of the USGS-BRD has been involved in mapping land cover in each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico in order to serve that need. In the Southeastern U.S., each of the state based projects with the exception of Alabama have completed a land cover map.
While the state-based products served local and state data needs and provided flexibility necessary to encourage state partnerships, a regional approach is being adopted in order to improve consistency across the region.
Several products were developed as a result of regional landcover mapping: