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After downloading and clipping the NLCD 2016 Land Cover Change Index raster and viewing it in ArcMap, the table of contents shows a legend with values 0-12. They are depicted in the following picture:

NLCD Land Cover Change Index Values

What are these specific values?

I am looking for either an explanation of what the values mean or a link to their description. I gathered the data from the following URL: https://www.mrlc.gov/data?f%5B0%5D=category%3Aland%20cover

The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLCC) (where the data is from) does not seem to provide a description of the values.

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I was wondering the same thing, found your question, then pulled up the metadata:

The NLCD 2016 Land Cover Change Index is a raster image with an accompanying look-up table that describes the land cover change represented by each index. Previous releases of NLCD land cover covered one target year, and a land cover change index was compiled of change from every class in the previous target year to every class in the current one – for example from 2006 to 2011 or from 2001 to 2006.

NLCD 2016 Land Cover spans not one but seven target years: 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2016. Rather than compiling six land cover change index products (one for each pair of adjacent target years), there is a single NLCD 2016 Land Cover Change Index product whose pixel values indicate land cover changes that occurred at least once between 2001 and 2016. Each assigned image value represents either “No Change” (Index number 1) or one of the changes described below.

Index number 2 identifies pixels that have changed from any land cover class to Water, or from Water to any other land cover class, between any two adjacent target years. Indices 5, 7, 8, 10, and 21 are similar identifiers of change from or to a single land cover class.

Index 3 identifies changes from any land cover class to any of the four Urban land cover classes, or from any of those four classes to any other land cover class, between any two adjacent target years. Index 11 similarly identifies changes from or to any of the three Forest classes.

Index 4 narrowly identifies changes only between Herbaceous Wetland and Woody Wetland. Similarly, Index 6 identifies changes only between Cultivated Crops and Hay / Pasture.

Index 9 meets a special requirement of shrubland research to discriminate where change occurs on persistent shrublands verses change on transitional shrubland areas such as regenerating forests.

Pixel /Index Value Description 1 No Change 2 Change from or to Water 3 Change from or to any of the four Urban classes (open space; low, medium, and high intensity) 4 Change from Herbaceous Wetland to Woody Wetland, or vice versa 5 Change from or to Herbaceous Wetland 6 Change from Cultivated Crops to Hay / Pasture, or vice versa 7 Change from or to Cultivated Crops 8 Change from or to Hay / Pasture 9 Persistent Grassland and Shrubland change. This change index attempts to identify changes to persistent Grassland and Shrubland areas, and to separate them from transitional shrubland areas such as regenerating forests. 10 Change from or to Barren 11 Change from or to any of the three Forest classes (Evergreen, Deciduous, and Mixed) 12 Change from or to Woody Wetland

Identifying the specific changes from one target year’s land cover class to another, and the specific target years when the changes occurred, both require analysis of the land cover data itself.

  • Thanks for the response! This seems to make sense to me. Was this available in the metadata from the original dataset? I clipped my dataset already to save storage space so I'm wondering if that's why I am unable to see it. – coconn41 Feb 13 at 17:18

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