Definition: Land objects

Category: Land Use/Land Cover

If the question of units or objects is self-evident for many scientific fields, for land it is somewhat not the case: the meaning of an object is a complex problem since the categorical classification of a part of the earth's surface pre-supposes that the area is clearly defined in space (DUHAMEL & VIDAL 1998). Objects are easily identifiable if the spaces are plots of farmland or built-up areas, as they have physical boundaries. However, these boundaries become blurred in semi-natural or natural environments. Delimitation problems are compounded in transitional zones. For example in the Mediterranean environment there are indistinct transitions in the biophysical continuum between forest, scrub and dry grassland. Delimitation problems also arise when use is made of category definitions based on cover or use percentages.
Eurostat, "Manual of concepts on land cover and land use information systems (2000 Edition)", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001