Monitoring land surface change contributes to understanding geographic and temporal patterns of change across large regions, provide input into a wide range of environmental modeling studies, clarify the drivers of change, and provide more timely information for land managers.
Jesslyn Brown is a research geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA, where she has worked for just over 30 years. Since finishing her graduate program at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 1990, she has worked in applied geographic research at the EROS Center. Jess’s main interests involve improving our understanding of changes in terrestrial vegetation related to climate and other driving forces and advancing the use of remotely sensed imagery for applications including drought early warning, tracking vegetation phenology (i.e., seasonal dynamics), and mapping land cover and land use. Jess was a member of the Global Land Cover Characteristics team that created the first map of global land cover at a 1 km resolution in the 1990s. From 2001 to 2017, she led multiple projects mainly focused on developing new monitoring tools to improve agricultural drought monitoring capabilities in the U.S., in a strong collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s National Drought Mitigation Center. During that time, she also led efforts to investigate recent land use change specifically focused on irrigated agriculture across the country. Since 2017, she began a new role leading the Land Change Monitoring Assessment and Projection (LCMAP) science team. LCMAP is a relatively new USGS initiative developing an end-to-end capability that uses the rich Landsat record to continuously track and characterize changes in land cover state and condition and translate the information into assessments of current and historical processes of cover and change.