LPISQA Legacy/ETS/Definitions/Land cover

From Wikicap - European Commission

How to process agricultural areas with trees?

Single trees should be mapped in the ETS, only when they correspond to landscape elements that are subject to retention according to Article 34(3) of CommReg1122/2009 (GAEC aspects).

The presence of trees on the LUI other than those defined as landscape elements, should be processed only if their abundance prevents the agricultural activities to be carried out in a similar way as on the LUI without trees in the same area (according to Art. 33 (4) of Reg 1122/2009). Such presence can be reported alphanumerically in the relevant land cover class definition, using the LCCS semantics. No individual graphical representation of the trees is needed. Two options are possible, depending on the tree types:

  1. Cultivated trees (orchard, plantation): mixed class of agriculture land with cultivated trees should be designed to reflect the intercropping character of the agriculture land
  2. Natural trees (non-agricultural): mixed class of agriculture land with natural trees should be designed to reflect the specific “restricted” potential of the agriculture land (expressed quantitatively through the pro-rata concept)

The EU Member States may decide –but are not obliged- to report in the ETS the presence of trees on agriculture land in cases when their abundance does not affect the normal agriculture activities on that land. The latter condition is by default expressed by the 50 tree/ha rule or its corresponding derogation. The voluntary reporting approach can be useful, when the specific character of the agriculture landscape has to be emphasized. In such case a user-defined mix class “agriculture land with scattered natural trees” could be designed, with eligibility hectare factor equal to 100% (pure eligible land)

NOTE: Defining individual trees on agricultural land as isolated trees under article 34(3) requires that they fulfill the scope of 'a minimum level of maintenance' or/and of 'avoiding the deterioration of habitats' (e.g. they are elements of the natural connectivity between biotopes and habitats that enhances biodiversity, they represent typical elements of a traditional landscape and of its visual quality etc.). In that context, trees present within the "50 trees per hectare", if evenly distributed on the parcel, can be hardly considered as individual landscape elements under the national GAEC standard. Therefore they need no individual mapping.

Do we need to identify and include all possible LCCS land cover classes for the eligibility profile?

NO, unless you have been using a too general approach towards eligible land. The landcover classes involved for eligibility are strictly those that have already been identified in your IACS. These classes are listed in

  1. the legend/mapping key used to delineate eligible land during your LPIS creation
  2. the field instructions used by the OTSC inspector for determining the agricultural parcel
  3. the instructions used by the CwRS operator (CTS and national top-up)

Mapping national land cover classes in FAO LCCS classes

The FAO LCCS offers a simple and structured way to name (and describe) the land cover types you have already identified inside your national system. Generally, one national class corresponds to a single LCCS class.

It may happen that one national land class turns out to consist of two (or more) LCCS classes. For example, “grassland” can refer to agricultural land (sown) or (semi-)natural vegetation. If this is the case, you shoul differentiate the national parent class; i.e. define national subclasses for each LCCS component for the purpose of the ETS inspection.

It is unlikely that two different national land classes would relate to a single LCCS class. For your mapping convenience, there is an explicit 'simplified' legend included in ETS version 4.3.

What is the reason behind the User-Defined Legend Codes in Eligibility Profile?

User-defined codes are applied when the 10 default ETS mapping codes are not suitable for a particular land cover class (e.g. heterogeneous lands or mixed cropping). The short names (two letter abbreviations) of the LCC classes are used in the ETS_measurements.gml - the vector file that stores the mapped land cover features. Using shorter names in the alphanumeric part of the GML reduce significantly the file size and facilitate the data handling.

NOTE: Only those classes need to be included in the EP that are relevant to your territory.

How to report land that can be used for agriculture, but primary function is not agricultural?

Such land comprises house yards, petting zoo, grassland next to landing strips, road side verges etc.

The land cover type “Artificial sealed surface” by general definition comprises also any associated areas. This category therefor includes e.g. parklands, road sides, urban vegetated areas, house yards, etc.

Even areas with grassland that primarily have a different function from agriculture or urbanisation (e.g. yard, petting zoo, grassland next to landing strips, etc.) are reported in table 6 of ANNEX I as “Artificial sealed surface”.

Meaning of "field margin" as given in Annex III

The classes listed in the eligibility provide aimed to be are purely land cover based, and although the definition of the landscape features might imply the introduction of land-use connotations, the provisional list in Table 2 offers a set of landscape features expressed through simple homogeneous land cover types. For that reason in Annex III, there are different entries for hedges, stone walls or ditches, grass strips - all of them, individual components of the functionally defined "field margin", as expressed in the references paper.

The definition of “permanent pasture (self-seeded)” implies 1,5-3,0 m high vegetation that does not fit the reality in our country

In the context of LCCS v.2 "Medium to Tall" grassland is the grass with height ranging from 0.3 to 3 meters. The lower limit of 0.3 meters was chosen to reflect natural grassland with dense and highly productive herbaceous vegetation typically having a height of few decimetres. In the design of LCC Code "20439-12763-T2”, the Basic Classifier B4 with a modifier B15 are used in the Boolean Formula (not shown in the EP) to express this range. Indeed, the use of the verbal expression "Medium to Tall" grassland is probably not exact in the European context, but we need to take into account the fact that LCCS is designed to accommodate the worldwide variety of land cover types, and the semantics used in LCCS are in line with its global context. In any case the definition of this natural grassland class is meant to be rather general. As explained in Annex III, EU MS are free to suggest and adopt more specific LC classes, if they found that those given are not detailed enough. The LCC code for Medium To Low natural grassland (0.03 - 1.5 m) should be 20439-T2(1)[Z201] (Permanent pasture (self-seed) with grass height between 0.03 - 1.5 m).

Which is the correct code for Permanent pasture (sown)?

Both 11512-S0701 and 10822-S0701 are equally correct. The stand-alone class for sown grassland defines a single perennial rainfed graminoid herbaceous crop continuously covering the area. The mixed class self-seed/sown grassland was specifically designed for those cases when the interpreter is not certain about the type of grassland he is assessing. In such case, the classifiers "single" and "continuous" are omitted from the second class component, to reflect "mixed" nature of the class from CAPI point of view.