Modelling the spatial distribution of linear landscape elements in Europe

E.H. van der Zanden, P.H. Verburg, C.A. Mücher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Linear landscape elements, such as ditches, hedgerows, lines of trees and field margins, provide important habitats and ecosystem services and function as ecological infrastructure for species within agricultural landscapes. Spatial maps of the distribution of these elements are needed to better represent landscape structure within regional scale environmental assessments. We present wall-to-wall maps for green lines, ditches and grass margins for Europe, using spatial modelling of ground observations on linear features from the 2009 LUCAS (land use/cover area frame statistical survey) database. We compare different spatial interpolation methods, ranging from spatial autocorrelation-based methods to methods that explain the occurrence of elements based on biophysical and socio-economic information. Our results are 1 km2 resolution maps of the occurrence of linear landscape elements for Europe. Independent validation of green lines based on aerial photographs showed the best results for interpolation based on regionally estimated regressions relating the occurrence of landscape elements to environmental and socio-economic location factors. The results confirm the importance of the underlying biophysical and socio-economic factors on the presence and abundance of linear landscape elements. However, the total explanatory strength of the considered factors is moderate and a considerable uncertainty in the exact distribution remains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-136
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • agricultural landscapes
  • land-cover
  • species richness
  • rural landscapes
  • great-britain
  • hedgerows
  • biodiversity
  • ecology
  • habitat
  • context


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