Global Land Use Classification: Hierarchical and Scalable
Human land use is both highly complex and highly variable, especially in light of the long time period and large spatial scale of the LandUse 6k project. Existing models of land use and land cover change use very simple categories. Like all classification systems, these are simplifications and, like all classifications, they are designed to address specific analytical goals. Archaeologists and historians rarely work at a global scale and such simple categories are too broad and too problematic for local or regional analyses. Furthermore, there is incongruity about the precise definition of specific terms so that what is meant by ‘farming,’ for example, is subject to disagreement. LandUse 6k is developing a codebook to describe how categories are used, recognizing both the limitations of definitions and the utility of a single taxonomy that can be used on a global scale.
Working groups are now developing more detailed classifications suitable for more detailed analyses. The project aims for complete global coverage at the most basic level and significant regional-scale coverage at more detailed levels of classification.