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Dataset | 16 October 2015

Land use overview

Data on area devoted to different land use categories (e.g. agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy production, etc.), expressed in percentage and square kilometre. Data broken down by NUTS2.

The Land cover is the physical cover of the earth's surface and the land use is the socio-economic function of the land.

The two concepts (land cover and land use) are clearly distinguished in the LUCAS survey classifications. This distinction is particularly worthwhile and allows also the analysis of the interactions between the two (cover and use). For example, land cover 'grassland' relates to the actual coverage of the soil while its use can vary from private gardens, to public parks, to agriculture and others. Grassland with agricultural use is an important component of the Utilized Agricultural Area and can be derived combining the two attribute (land cover and use) referring to the same point.

As far as the land use is concerned, it is worthwhile to specify that the figures refer specifically to the use of the land for which any sign is visible in the ground. Therefore data reported in any table referring to the use has to be interpreted as the 'visible use'. As an example if a piece of land is regularly used for leisure purposes but no signs are visible on the spot, such a use will not be recorded by the surveyor and will not appear in the figures unless auxiliary data have been used for supporting data collection.

Data source: Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS). The aim of the LUCAS survey is to gather harmonised information on land use and land cover. The survey also provides territorial information facilitating the analysis of the interactions between agriculture, environment and countryside, such as irrigation and land management. The LUCAS source of data is obtained via an Area Frame survey. The LUCAS field survey is conceived and designed by Eurostat. It is carried out on a sample of points spread over the entire territory of the European Union. The LUCAS points are selected from a standard 2 km grid which comprises around 1 million points all over the EU. Only a sample of the LUCAS points is visited in each campaign.