Changing land cover across the globe •

Changing land cover across the globe


Changing land cover across the globe Today’s Video of the Day comes from the European Space Agency (ESA) and features a look at how land cover is changing across planet Earth.

Land cover maps created by satellite data are important for monitoring changes in land use, protecting biodiversity, tracking climate change, and conserving natural resources.

In addition, land cover impacts carbon and nutrient cycles, biophysical properties, and feedback to atmospheric processes and the water cycle. For much of human history, most of the world’s land was wilderness: forests, grasslands and shrubbery dominated its landscapes. Over the last few centuries, this has changed dramatically: wild habitats have been squeezed out by turning it into agricultural land. 

Global land cover maps provide a synoptic overview and broad stratification of land cover over large areas. Therefore the Land Cover product is used for a broad range of applications: Changes in land availability for agriculture and forestry are a key factor in sustainable development of many regions, and can be a major drive of societal conflicts.

The yearly moderate-resolution land cover maps do primarily target land cover detection and their changes, although it’s not so straightforward to put boundaries between definitions of land cover and land use classes.

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Video Credit: ESA/CCI Land Cover Team/Planetary Visions

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