The LUC Approach to Creating a Continental-Scale Land-Cover Database for Russia

Fischer, G., Stolbovoi, V., Savin, I.Y., & Roshkov, V. (1995). The LUC Approach to Creating a Continental-Scale Land-Cover Database for Russia. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-95-129

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Land cover is an essential surface characteristic of the Earth. Yet -- this may come as a surprise -- there is no generally accepted, complete and universal land-cover product for Russia, as is the problem in many other parts of the world. A review of global land-cover databases concluded that one of the most pressing problems in global climate and ecosystem studies is a lack of adequate land-cover data. This may explain why land-cover mapping often leads to debate over classification schemes, use of class descriptors and labels, and product specifications. Land-use and land-cover information is required in various forms and at different scales. A variety of techniques are in current use to collect the necessary data, ranging from census studies, ground observations, to remotely sensed data. The methodological plurality has also resulted in a widely diverse number of methods to store and present these data. In view of this unsatisfactory situation, FAO and UNEP, with the support of UNESCO and a number of other organizations, have launched an initiative on harmonizing and standardizing land-use and land-cover classification systems.

Another major effort has been launched by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), to serve the needs of the global environmental change research community. The IGBP-DIS Global 1 km Land-cover Project is currently underway. The project is primarily relying on NOAA AVHRR data and aims to develop and distribute a global data-set representing land-cover in terms of seventeen broad classes.

Being aware of these efforts, and aiming to be consistent with and useful to the international research community, the Land-Use Change (LUC) project at IIASA decided at an early stage to be in active contact with the research groups charged with harmonizing land-use and land-cover classifications, to use their methods and standards as they would emerge. Consequently, as regards land-cover database development, the main task of the LUC project was defined as: (i) producing a complete list of land-cover categories in Europe and Northern Asia based on available national-level data sources, and (ii) which would correspond to the diversity of land-use and land-cover of this huge territory. Charged with this task, it was necessary to develop a framework allowing to concentrate the project's efforts on these problems.

The objective of this paper is to present an outline and rationale of the methodology for elaborating the project's land-cover database. Comprising the major portion of the study region, the approach has been developed on the basis of Russian experience.

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 02:05
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:15

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