Land Cover: Current and Projected

About this map

Surrounding metropolitan Los Angeles are wide expanses of shrubland, grasslands, and, at higher elevations, stands of evergreen forest. Zoom in on the Protected Areas to see which land cover types make up these zones.

Researchers have also modeled future land cover projections using different IPCC scenarios (defined by potential demographic, technological, and economical developments). The 2050 scenarios in this map show two possible, opposing futures:

  • Scenario A1 anticipates an emphasis on global and economic priorities, i.e. rapid economic growth and a globalization of standards of living. It assumes moderate population growth and high technological innovation.
  • Scenario B2 assumes a trend toward regional and environmental policy, with slow economic growth and more regional approaches to solving environmental issues. This might be considered the more sustainable scenario, where environmental sustainability and low population growth are expected.

Note that the land cover types in the current map are slightly more detailed than the future scenarios, which do not distinguish different levels of development from each other. Visit the National Land Cover Database website to learn what the different contemporary land cover types mean.

Data source: Current land cover data from the National Land Cover Database 2016 (Homer et al. 2020 in ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 162, Projections from United States Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (Sohl et al. In Press, Ecological Applications