Identifying Land Use and Land-Use Changes (LULUC): A Global LULUC Matrix

De Rosa M, Odgaard M V, Staunstrup J K, Knudsen M T, Hermansen J E (2017)

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Environmental Science & Technology 51(14):7954–7962


Land use and land-use changes (LULUC) information is essential to determine the environmental impacts of anthropogenic land-use and conversion. However, existing data sets are either local-scale or they quantify land occupation per land-use type rather than providing information on land-use changes. Here we combined the strengths of the remotely sensed MODIS land cover data set and FAOSTAT land-use data to obtain a database including a collection of 231 country-specific LULUC matrixes, as suggested by the IPCC. We produced two versions of each matrix: version 1, identifying forestland based on canopy cover criteria; version 2, distinguishing primary, secondary, planted forests and permanent crops. The outcome was a first country-based, consistent set of spatially explicit LULUC matrixes. The database facilitates a more holistic assessment of land-use changes, quantifying changes that occur between land classes from 2001 to 2012, providing crucial information for assessing environmental impacts caused by LULUC. The data allow global-scale land-use change analyses, requiring a distinction between land types based not only on land cover but also on land uses. The spatially explicit data set may also serve as a starting point for further studies aiming at determining the drivers of land-use change supported by spatial statistical modeling.

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