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Land area in coastal Louisiana (1932 to 2016) - land area spatial data - multi-date composites for specific years

Metadata Updated: October 29, 2023

Coastal Louisiana wetlands are one of the most critically threatened environments in the United States. These wetlands are in peril because Louisiana currently experiences greater coastal wetland loss than all other States in the contiguous United States combined. The datasets presented here were utilized in a larger effort to quantify landscape changes from 1932 to 2016. Analyses show that coastal Louisiana has experienced a net change in land area of approximately -4,833 square kilometers (modeled estimate: -5,197 +/- 443 square kilometers) from 1932 to 2016. This net change in land area amounts to a decrease of approximately 25 percent of the 1932 land area. Previous studies have presented linear rates of change over multidecadal time periods which unintentionally suggest that wetland change occurs at a constant rate, although in many cases, wetland change rates vary with time. A penalized regression spline technique was used to determine the model that best fit the data, rather than fitting the data with linear trends. Trend analyses from model fits indicate that coastwide rates of wetland change have varied from -83.5 +/- 11.8 square kilometers per year to -28.01 +/- 16.37 square kilometers per year. To put these numbers into perspective, this equates to long-term average loss rates of approximately an American football field’s worth of coastal wetlands within 34 minutes when losses are rapid to within 100 minutes at more recent, slower rates. Of note is the slowing of the rate of wetland change since its peak in the mid- 1970s. Not only have rates of wetland loss been decreasing since that time, a further rate reduction has been observed since 2010. Possible reasons for this reduction include recovery from lows affected by the hurricanes of 2005 and 2008, the lack of major storms in the past 8 years, a possible slowing of subsidence rates, the reduction in and relocation of oil and gas extraction and infrastructure since the peak of such activities in the late 1960s, and restoration activities. In addition, many wetlands in more exposed positions in the landscape have already been lost. Most notable of the factors listed above is the lack of major storms over the past 8 years. The observed coastwide net “stability” in land area observed over the past 6–8 years does not imply that loss has ceased. Future disturbance events such as a major hurricane impact could change the trajectory of the loss rates. Sea-level rise is projected to accelerate over time which might also inflate the rate of wetland loss above current or recent trends and conditions.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 29, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 29, 2023
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Identifier USGS:5be09ce7e4b0b3fc5cf33e55
Data Last Modified 20200830
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:12
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 5dca5445-dd8e-4830-865a-d157b3a23bd3
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -94.3295,28.4984,-87.631,31.2746
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > U.S. Geological Survey
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash fefbdb9c356c8f724cf17b0447e5b7dc4930189f30e7bf969184af8a4166c3fb
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": -94.3295, 28.4984, -94.3295, 31.2746, -87.631, 31.2746, -87.631, 28.4984, -94.3295, 28.4984}

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