New UK Land Cover Map Available

Land Cover Map 2007 (LCM2007) is the latest land cover map to be produced by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology on behalf of the Countryside Survey partnership. It provides land cover information for the entire UK based on the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Broad Habitats which are widely used in monitoring and reporting on our countryside. LCM2007 has been derived from satellite images, digital cartography, ground reference data and ancillary datasets.

At a time when our land surface is under ever-increasing pressure, reliable information on land cover is essential. A growing population of over 61 million people needs space to live, to work, space for leisure and recreation, places to bury or process waste, a transport network, raw materials for infra-structure and land for crops. Intensification of agriculture, driven by increasing demand for food and biofuels, have squeezed wildlife into marginal and fragmented habitats. The ecosystems and the services that these provide such as clean water and insects to pollinate our crops are therefore under pressure too. The requirements of and the demands that we place on our terrestrial environment are often conflicting and need to be balanced to maintain and enhance our quality of life.

To address these issues and plan for the future we need to know what we have on our land surface and where it is. LCM2007 provides this information.

The Survey has been carried out at regular intervals since 1978. The countryside is sampled and studied using rigorous scientific methods, allowing us to compare new results with those from previous surveys. In this way we can detect the gradual and subtle changes that occur in the UK’s countryside over time.




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