A Land-Cover Classification for Modeling Natural Land Cover within the IIASA LUC Project

van Minnen JG, Fischer G, & Stolbovoi V (1996). A Land-Cover Classification for Modeling Natural Land Cover within the IIASA LUC Project. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-96-026

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Abstract

Natural forces have always shaped the global land cover, however resulting in mainly gradual changes. More recently anthropogenic impacts have resulted in fast changes and which dominate the natural impacts in many areas. Many studies to understand these changes and their consequences have been started. One common point of interest is the behavior and classification of the land cover. This kind of information is for example required within modeling activities, that intent to evaluate (for example climate change) impacts on land cover, scale independent. As result of the studies land cover information exists at different places around the world. However, although vegetation and land cover classifications exist already some time large differences have been found and no general accepted way of classification exists, e.g. in the level of detail. The land-cover datasets and the large number of classification systems/map legends differ in spatial resolution, definition, purposes, and outcome. For example the classifications use three different main bases: Eco-physiognomy (=relation between plant structure and its environment), environmental conditions (especially climate) and floristics. Coming up with a consistent classification is a common wish of many modelers. Therefore studies to harmonize the existing classifications have just recently started. Although they yet didn't have come up with the ultimate classification they recommended to start with coming up with a set of important attributes, and define these for the different classes. This is in agreement with other studies, which for example want to derive land cover from satellite data. The following step should be to develop a methodology through which the different classifications could be linked, by using these attributes.

We are involved within the project "Modeling land-use/land-cover changes in Europe and Northern-Asia". Although is has not been our purpose to come up with a new land-cover classification, we developed a new list to integrate the land-cover diversity within the large region with small scale information as derived from e.g. case studies activities.

In this paper we want describe how the land-cover classification for the modeling part of the project has been set up. First we give a short description of the project. Secondly, we come up with our definition of land cover, we indicate the requirements of a good classification and describe the attributes which are important within the classification. These attributes can be classified into internal, eco-physiognomic attributes, such as leaf phenology, and into environmental attributes. We agree with the UNEP harmonization project that such physiognomic attributes should be used for the basic definition of the classes, but it is our believe that for the evaluation of environmental impacts and for mapping purposes environmental attributes are also required.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:08
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2016 03:55
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5000

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