It will allow a common classification of landscapes across the continent.
Europe has a wide variety of landscapes, which are shaped by the complex interactions between many environmental and cultural factors. While landscapes alter over time, there is growing concern about the loss of characteristic differences between European landscapes – with a resulting deterioration in natural and historical quality. Therefore, a common system for identifying European landscapes is needed to tackle this problem.
Dutch researchers, who were partly funded by the EU, have designed a common conceptual framework for landscape classification called LANMAP.
This is based on four themes: climate, altitude, parent material (taken from soil classifications) and land cover. An example of a landscape type is represented by the symbol Mls_al. This stands for: Mediterranean (M) lowland (l) dominated by sediments (s) and arable land (al).
The LANMAP database covers an area of approximately 11 million km2, from Iceland in the northwest to Azerbaijan in the southeast.
LANMAP can be used for reporting on the environment using indicators, and as a framework for environmental monitoring. Recently, it has been used to identify changes in land use in specific landscapes and to analyse the impact of future land use changes on European landscapes.
LANMAP and its associated database can be accessed here.