Definition: Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey

Land Use/Land Cover

The "Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey" (LUCAS) aims to inform decision makers and the general public about changes in management and coverage of the European territory. 

The overall objectives of the LUCAS project are: 

- developing a standard survey methodology in terms of the sampling plan, nomenclature, data collection process and statistical estimators to obtain harmonised and unbiased estimates at EU level of the main land use/cover areas and changes;
- collecting information on agricultural land cover and land use within an acceptable time-lag and providing estimates of crop areas; 
- offering a common sampling base (frame, drawing procedure, scheme) that Member States can use to obtain representative data at national/regional level by increasing the sampling rate while respecting the general LUCAS approach;
- testing the suitability of the survey for collecting data on environment, multi-purpose land use, landscape and sustainable development.

LUCAS is currently the only in-situ land cover and land use collection with a harmonised nomenclature over the whole EU territory. It is not a mapping exercise but is based on statistical calculations. It gives reliable results on area entities (with the currently applied sample density on regional level and higher). Due to the direct observation of the ground, it can deliver a detailed land cover classification (e.g. distinction between different cereals like wheat and rye). Such a detailed classification is technically not yet possible with photo-interpretation approaches. Satellite interpretation mapping exercises like CORINE land cover use however the ground-surveyed LUCAS data and the photos of the sample point, crop and landscape taken for the verification of their image interpretation results. As all LUCAS points are georeferenced and re-sampled during the time, the survey also allows monitoring the condition of the environment in Europe.
LUCAS dedicated page on Eurostat's website

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