» Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC)

Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change (USGS)

The surface of the Earth is always changing. Some changes like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and landslides happen quickly and other changes, such as most erosional processes, happen slowly over time. It’s often hard to see these changes from ground level. A much broader view is needed, and multiple views that provide a record of change over time are especially helpful. Earthshots shows you how satellite data are used to track these changes. The Landsat series of Earth-observing satellites has acquired data for monitoring the planet’s landmasses since 1972. The vast archive containing millions of Landsat scenes is managed at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, SD. The images displayed in Earthshots are examples of Landsat data that help scientists worldwide understand more about how both people and nature are changing the landscape. Each Earthshots page features a different location from around the world and explains the changes that the satellite images reveal. For example, the Mount St. Helens page shows what the mountain looked like before and after the 1980 eruption. Furthermore, it shows recent images that demonstrate how the forest is recovering. Read More

Islands on the Edge: Housing Development and Other Threats to America's Pacific and Caribbean Island Forests (2014)

This report provides an overview of expected housing density changes and related impacts to private forests on America’s islands in the Pacific and Carribbean, specifically Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The vulnerability of island forests to conversion for housing development, introduction and spread of invasive species, and risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, among other concerns are discussed. The maps and projections suggest that in localized areas from 3 to 25 percent of private forest land is likely to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030. Resource managers, developers, community leaders, and landowners should consider the impacts of housing development and invasive species on ecosystem services in coming decades. Read More

Threats to At-Risk Species in America's Private Forests: A Forests on the Edge Report

America’s private forests harbor thousands of species – from butterflies, bears, birds and bats; to salmon, snails and salamanders that inhabit streams and wetlands; to flowers, trees and shrubs that feed and protect wildlife and enrich human lives. Many native animals and plants found in private forests nationwide are at risk of decline or extinction, in part because of impacts of increasing housing development. The effects of development on at-risk species on private forests are intensified by additional impacts from fire, insects and disease. Read More

Environmental Literacy and Inquiry (ELI)

ELI is an inquiry-based middle school curriculum that uses geospatial information technologies to investigate environmental issues. Includes lessons, video, handouts, assessments, and content support. Read More

Common Ground: Solutions for Reducing the Human, Economic and Conservation Costs of Human Wildlife Conflict

This report deals with the conflicts between wildlife and human development. Three cases studies are included, in Namibia, Nepal and Indonesia, respectively. Each location has different problems and contexts, but in all three countries, human lives and economic livelihoods are at stake, as well as the loss of habitat of threatened species. The authors advocate a species conservation approach based on land use planning integrated with human needs in order continue sustainable development. Read More

Habitat Fragmentation by Land-Use Change: One-Horned Rhinoceros in Nepal and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker in Texas

This research focuses on the spatial analysis of the habitat of two vulnerable species, the one-horn rhinoceros in the grasslands of southern Nepal, and the red-cockaded woodpecker in the Piney woods of southeast Texas, in the USA. A study sites relevant for biodiversity conservation was selected in each country: Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and areas near the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Land-use differs in the two study areas: the first is still undergoing agrarian development while the second is in a technological phase and undergoing urbanization processes. Satellite remote sensing images were used to derive land-cover maps by supervised classification. These maps were then processed by Geographic Information Systems methods to apply habitat models based on basic resources (food and cover) and obtain habitat suitability maps. Several landscape metrics were computed to quantify the habitat characteristics especially the composition and configuration of suitable habitat patches. Sensitivity analyses were performed as the nominal values of some of the model parameters were arbitrary. Development potential probability models were used to hypothesize changes in land-use of the second study site. Various scenarios were employed to examine the impact of development on the habitat of red-cockaded woodpecker. The method derived in this study would prove beneficial to guide management and conservation of wildlife habitats. Read More

Our Planet : Your Planet Needs You - practical action Our Planet : Your Planet Needs You - practical action

Our Planet is a periodical magazine published by the United Nations Environment Programme. This issue is devoted to examples of grass roots actions that result in positive changes around the world. Read More

State of the Climate in 2008

This report describes observations of precipitation, temperature, and other climatology metrics from different global regions. Read More

UGEC Viewpoints

Urbanization is a global phenomenon that has transformed and continues to alter landscapes and the ways in which societies function and develop. For this issue of UGEC Viewpoints, the editors collected case-studies presented at the Open Meeting that span across regions and themes: from Australia and the United States, as well as the less developed nations in Africa, megacities of Asia such as Dhaka, Bangladesh and Delhi, India, vulnerable coastal areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the largest rainforest in the world, the Brazilian Amazon. Currently, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities; the United Nations projects that by 2030 the world will advance to the 60% urbanization threshold. Rapid urbanization effects will not only be present within the immediate locations (cities and their metropolitan areas), but will be experienced regionally and globally. The UGEC project seeks to better understand these implications and the complex dynamic systems of urban areas that affect and are affected by global environmental change (e.g., climate change, natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, freshwater ecosystem decline, desertification, and land degradation). Several commonalities are readily identifiable in the authors’ research, some of which include an attention to the roles of the governance structures within … Read More

Clearing the Waters: A focus on water quality solutions

This report discusses global water issues and offers a variety of proposals for countering the degradation of freshwater ecosystems for the benefit of public health and the environment. Read More


EERL's mission is to be the best possible online collection of environmental and energy sustainability resources for community college educators and for their students. The resources are also available for practitioners and the public.


EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

Contact ATEEC 563.441.4087 or by email ateec@eicc.edu