Matthew C. Hansen's research while affiliated with University of Maryland Global Campus and other places

Publications (166)

Article
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Since 1972, the Landsat program has been continually monitoring the Earth, to now provide 50 years of digital, multispectral, medium spatial resolution observations. Over this time, Landsat data were crucial for many scientific and technical advances. Prior to the Landsat program, detailed, synoptic depictions of the Earth's surface were rare, and...
Article
Seasonal changes of temperature and precipitation cause inland open surface water and ice cover extents to vary dramatically through the year from local to global scales. These dynamics of land, water, and ice have a significant impact on climate and often are critical to natural ecosystem functioning. However, global seasonal dynamics of both wate...
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Recent advances in Landsat archive data processing and characterization enhanced our capacity to map land cover and land use globally with higher precision, temporal frequency, and thematic detail. Here, we present the first results from a project aimed at annual multidecadal land monitoring providing critical information for tracking global progre...
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Forest fires contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions and can negatively affect public health, economic activity, and provision of ecosystem services. In boreal forests, fires are a part of the ecosystem dynamics, while in the humid tropics, fires are largely human-induced and lead to forest degradation. Studies have shown changing fire dynami...
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The conversion of natural land cover into human-dominated land use systems has significant impacts on the environment. Global mapping and monitoring of human-dominated land use extent via satellites provides an empirical basis for assessing land use pressures. Here, we present a novel 2019 global land cover, land use, and ecozone map derived from L...
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Spatiotemporally consistent data on global cropland extent is essential for tracking progress towards sustainable food production. In the present study, we present an analysis of global cropland area change for the first two decades of the twenty-first century derived from satellite data time-series. We estimate that, in 2019, the cropland area was...
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Recent studies have used high resolution imagery to estimate tree cover and changes in natural forest cover in Haiti. However, there is still no rigorous quantification of tree cover change accounting for planted or managed trees, which are very important in Haiti’s farming systems. We estimated net tree cover change, gross loss, and gross gain in...
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A prominent goal of policies mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss is to achieve zero deforestation in the global supply chain of key commodities, such as palm oil and soybean. However, the extent and dynamics of deforestation driven by commodity expansion are largely unknown. Here we mapped annual soybean expansion in South America betwe...
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Humid tropical forests play a dominant role in the functioning of Earth but are under increasing threat from changes in land use and climate. How forest vulnerability varies across space and time and what level of stress forests can tolerate before facing a tipping point are poorly understood. Here, we develop a tropical forest vulnerability index...
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The Planet constellation of satellites represents a significant advance in the availability of high cadence, high spatial resolution imagery. When coupled with a targeted sampling strategy, these advances enhance land-cover and land-use monitoring capabilities. Here we present example regional and national-scale area-estimation methods as a demonst...
Article
Time series of multi-spectral satellite data are a valuable option for crop-area monitoring, in particular by enabling rapid, accurate, and consistent estimation of crop area. In this study, we demonstrate the use of a turn-key wheat area mapping model using growing season Landsat time-series data to improve the precision of area estimates produced...
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Across South America, the expansion of commodity land uses has underpinned substantial economic development at the expense of natural land cover and associated ecosystem services. Here, we show that such human impact on the continent’s land surface, specifically land use conversion and natural land cover modification, expanded by 268 million hectar...
Preprint
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Spatiotemporally consistent data on global cropland extent is a key to tracking progress toward hunger eradication and sustainable food production 1,2 . Here, we present an analysis of global cropland area and change for the first two decades of the 21st century derived from satellite data time-series. We estimate 2019 cropland area to be 1,244 Mha...
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Managing forests for climate change mitigation requires action by diverse stakeholders undertaking different activities with overlapping objectives and spatial impacts. To date, several forest carbon monitoring systems have been developed for different regions using various data, methods and assumptions, making it difficult to evaluate mitigation p...
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Indonesia has been the largest supplier of palm oil since 2007, and now supplies around 56% of the global market. While the existing literature has paid serious attention to the diverse impacts of oil palm plantation on socioeconomic factors and the environment, less is known about the joint role of biophysical and socioeconomic factors in shaping...
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Generating crop type maps using satellite remote sensing requires robust data acquisition at both high spatial and temporal resolutions to resolve rapid phenological transition at the field scale. The increasing availability of freely-available, moderate-resolution satellite data such as the Landsat and Sentinel series of satellites offers an unpre...
Article
Consistent, large-scale operational monitoring of forest height is essential for estimating forest-related carbon emissions, analyzing forest degradation, and quantifying the effectiveness of forest restoration initiatives. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar instrument onboard the International Space Station has been collectin...
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Tropical forests vary in composition, structure and function such that not all forests have similar ecological value. This variability is caused by natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes, which influence the ability of forests to support biodiversity, store carbon, mediate water yield and facilitate human well-being. While international envi...
Article
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Global Forest Change datasets have the potential to assist countries with national forest measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements. This paper assesses the accuracy of the Global Forest Change data against nationally derived forest change data by comparing the forest loss estimates from the global data with the equivalent data from...
Article
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Obtaining accurate and widespread measurements of the vertical structure of the Earth’s forests has been a long-sought goal for the ecological community. Such observations are critical for accurately assessing the existing biomass of forests, and how changes in this biomass caused by human activities or variations in climate may impact atmospheric...
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Global surface water extent is changing due to natural processes as well as anthropogenic drivers such as reservoir construction and conversion of wetlands to agriculture. However, the extent and change of global inland surface water are not well quantified. To address this, we classified land and water in all 3.4 million Landsat 5, 7, and 8 scenes...
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Lack of national data on water-related ecosystems is a major challenge to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 targets by 2030. Monitoring surface water extent, wetlands, and water quality from space can be an important asset for many countries in support of SDG 6 reporting. We demonstrate the potential for Earth observation (EO) data...
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Tropical forest fragmentation results in habitat and biodiversity loss and increased carbon emissions. Here, we link an increased likelihood of tropical forest loss to decreasing fragment size, particularly in primary forests. The relationship holds for protected areas, albeit with half the rate of loss compared with all fragments. The fact that di...
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Shifting cultivation has been shown to be the primary cause of land use change in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Traditionally, forested and fallow land are rotated in a slash and burn cycle that has created an agricultural mosaic, including secondary forest, known as the rural complex. This study investigates the land use context of new f...
Conference Paper
Spatially and temporally consistent tree height time-series have great potential to improve the capacity for regional to country scales land cover monitoring. Here we present a method for mapping and monitoring tree height at a regional scale using freely available Landsat data (30m), corresponding to 33 years of continuous coverage. We used tree h...
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Leading indicators of future economic activity include measures such as new housing starts, managers purchasing index, money supply, and bond yields. Such macroeconomic and financial indicators hold predictive power in signaling recessionary periods. However, many indicators are constrained by the fact that data are often published with some delay...
Article
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Terrestrial ecosystems and their vegetation are linked to climate. With the potential of accelerated climate change from anthropogenic forcing, there is a need to further evaluate the transient response of ecosystems, their vegetation, and their influence on the carbon balance, to this change. The equilibrium response of ecosystems to climate chang...
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The application of remotely-sensed data for hydrological modeling of the Congo Basin is presented. Satellite-derived data, including TRMM precipitation, are used as inputs to drive the USGS Geospatial Streamflow Model (GeoSFM) to estimate daily river discharge over the basin from 1998 to 2012. Physically-based parameterization was augmented with a...
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Spatially and temporally consistent vegetation structure time-series have great potential to improve the capacity for national land cover monitoring, to reduce latency and cost of international reporting, and to harmonize regional land cover characterizations. Here we present a semi-automatic, operational algorithm for mapping and monitoring of woo...
Article
The accuracy of mapping forest extent from satellite imagery largely depends on both semantic definition and estimation quality of tree cover at the pixel level. In this study, we conducted a comparative analysis of different tree cover data sets, derived from field sample, terrestrial and airborne lidar scans, and Landsat imagery, to investigate f...
Article
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The United States (U.S.) federal government provides imagery obtained by federally funded Earth Observation satellites typically at no cost. For many years Landsat was an exception to this trend, until 2008 when the United States Geological Survey (USGS) made Landsat data accessible via the internet for free. Substantial increases in downloads of L...
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2019): Contrasting tree-cover loss and subsequent land cover in two neotropical forest regions: sample-based assessment of the Mexican Yucatán and Argentine Chaco, Journal of Land Use Science To link to this article: https://doi. ABSTRACT The neotropical-forest's northern and southern extremes, covering the Mexican Yucatán and the Argentine Chaco,...
Article
Guyana is a high forest cover, low deforestation country. Since 2011–2014 the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has used visual interpretation of 5 m resolution RapidEye imagery to map forest loss and nearby degradation for the entire country. According to the GFC produced national map, 58% of all forest loss events cover less than 1 ha, so forest l...
Article
Baccini et al . (Reports, 13 October 2017, p. 230) report MODIS-derived pantropical forest carbon change, with spatial patterns of carbon loss that do not correspond to higher-resolution Landsat-derived tree cover loss. The assumption that map results are unbiased and free of commission and omission errors is not supported. The application of passi...
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Brazil has become a global leader in the production of commodity row crops such as soybean, sugarcane, cotton, and corn. Here, we report an increase in Brazilian cropland extent from 26.0 Mha in 2000 to 46.1 Mha in 2014. The states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí, Bahia (collectively MATOPIBA), Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Pará all more than...
Conference Paper
Timely information on forest extent and change is required to support national sustainable development goals and to monitor national land use policy implementation and enforcement. Freely available moderate spatial resolution satellite data, such as Landsat imagery, enable global forest monitoring. However, available global products are not always...
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In this Letter, errors in Supplementary Table 1 have been corrected.
Article
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A regional assessment of forest disturbance dynamics from 2000 to 2014 was performed for the Congo Basin countries using time-series satellite data. Area of forest loss was estimated and disaggregated by predisturbance forest type and direct disturbance driver. An estimated 84% of forest disturbance area in the region is due to small-scale, nonmech...
Article
Global maps of forest loss depict the scale and magnitude of forest disturbance, yet companies, governments, and nongovernmental organizations need to distinguish permanent conversion (i.e., deforestation) from temporary loss from forestry or wildfire. Using satellite imagery, we developed a forest loss classification model to determine a spatial a...
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Land change is a cause and consequence of global environmental change1,2. Changes in land use and land cover considerably alter the Earth's energy balance and biogeochemical cycles, which contributes to climate change and-in turn-affects land surface properties and the provision of ecosystem services1-4. However, quantification of global land chang...
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Humid tropical forests provide numerous global ecosystem services, but are under continuing threat of clearing from economic drivers. Here, we report primary humid tropical forest extent for the year 2001, and primary forest loss and distance to loss from 2002–2014 for the largest rainforest countries of Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR...
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While publicly available, cost-free coarse and medium spatial resolution satellite data such as MODIS and Landsat perform well in characterizing industrial cropping systems, commercial high spatial resolution satellite data are often preferred alternative for fine scale land tenure agricultural systems such as found in Pakistan. In this article, we...
Article
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The recently available Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) are provided as top of atmosphere (TOA) and atmospherically corrected (surface) reflectance tiled products and are designed to make the U.S. Landsat archive for the United States straightforward to use. In this study, the utility of ARD for 30 m percent tree cover mapping is demonstrated and...
Article
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Mosaic landscapes under shifting cultivation, with their dynamic mix of managed and natural land covers, often fall through the cracks in remote sensing–based land cover and land use classifications, as these are unable to adequately capture such landscapes’ dynamic nature and complex spectral and spatial signatures. But information about such land...
Data
Complied results of expert survey responses. (PDF)
Data
Explanatory variables of accuracy. The file provides the overall accuracy, the F-score for the cropland and the non-cropland classes, the elevation, the slope, the mean annual rainfall, the mean annual temperature, the crop diversity, the irrigation proportion, the river density, the road density, the field density, the distance to roads, the dista...
Data
Gini analysis per province. The file shows the Gini index fall all bands of the spectral-temporal features for the nine provinces. (CSV)
Data
Accuracy assessment with spatially-constrained confusion matrices. The overall accuracy, the user’s and producer’s accuracies, the F-scores, and the uncertainty observed at 1181 locations. (CSV)
Article
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The lack of sufficient ground truth data has always constrained supervised learning, thereby hindering the generation of up-to-date satellite-derived thematic maps. This is all the more true for those applications requiring frequent updates over large areas such as cropland mapping. Therefore, we present a method enabling the automated production o...
Article
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An error in the unit conversion from pixels to hectares lead to all the areal quantities in the text being smaller than they should have been. Only the number of hectares were changed; none of the text nor tables were changed. The changes do not affect the overall results or conclusions.
Article
Fig. 1. Overall flowchart of a multi-resolution approach for national-scale soybean area estimation in US and Argentina.