A new European Landscape Classification (LANMAP): A transparent, flexible and user-oriented methodology to distinguish landscapes

C.A. Mucher, J.A. Klijn, D.M. Wascher, J.H.J. Schaminée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have developed a new hierarchical European Landscape Classification that can be used as a framework for, e.g., indicator reporting and environmental sampling. Landscapes are ecological meaningful units where many processes and components interact. And as such, landscapes themselves have resulted from long-term interactions of natural abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic processes. A good understanding of landscapes is essential for its assessment, protection, management and planning. An internationally consistent approach is therefore obligatory and the production of landscape classifications and associated maps is an important tool in this context. Although intuitive maps are available there are no consistent quantitative maps of European landscapes. In this paper, landscapes are regarded as forming recognizable parts of the earth's surface and as showing a characteristic ordering of elements. The complex nature of the underlying scientific concepts, which sometimes overlap and conflict, requires an objective and consistent methodology, as described in the present paper. As there are many regional differences in landscape properties, it is crucial to strike the right balance between reducing the inherent complexity and maintaining an adequate level of detail. Against this background, a European Landscape Map (LANMAP) has been produced, making use of available segmentation and classification techniques on high-resolution spatial data sets. LANMAP is a landscape classification of Pan-Europe with four hierarchical levels; using digital data on climate, altitude, parent material and land use as determinant factors; and has 350 landscape types at the most detailed level. At this level there are 14,000 mapping units with a minimum mapping unit of 11 km2. Thus far, LANMAP is limited to a biophysical approach, since there is a lack of consistent and European-wide data on cultural–historical factors. This paper describes the conceptual background of LANMAP, its methodology and results, and shows its potentials and limitations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-103
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • land
  • stratification

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