Acceleration and fragmentation of CORINE land cover changes in the United Kingdom from 2006–2012 detected by Copernicus IMAGE2012 satellite data
journal contributionposted on 17.08.2018, 13:28 by B. Cole, G. Smith, Heiko Balzter
The CORINE land cover maps present the longest series of land cover maps with a consistent class labelling system and date back to 1985. This paper presents the results of the CORINE land cover mapping of the United Kingdom for 2012 and the corresponding land cover change map from 2006 to 2012. It compares the rates of change with those of the preceding land cover change map 2000–2006 and finds that land cover change has become smaller in scale, more diverse in types of change and affects more land cover polygons than in the past reporting period. Land cover change from 2006 to 2012 affected almost 60% more land cover polygons than from 2000 to 2006. A greater variety of 165 types of land cover change was detected from 2006 to 2012 than the 67 types of change from 2000 to 2006. The total land cover change area increased by over 21,000 ha or 11% but remained at around 1% of the total land area of the UK. Rotation forestry mostly of conifer forests was a dominant type of land cover change in both periods (53% of overall change from 2000 to 2006 and 54% from 2006 to 2012), followed by growth and replanting of conifer forest. From 2006 to 2012 the replanting rate decreased by almost 15,000 ha compared to 2000–2006 and a smaller decrease in planting of broadleaf and mixed forests was also observed. Urban land take continued from 2006 to 2012 in the UK, with over 16,000 ha of increase in artificial surfaces. The rate of change from other land cover types to artificial surfaces accelerated from 2006 to 2012. However, we urge caution when interpreting the rate of land take, as it includes wind farms in forested areas which leave the forest largely intact apart from an access road and the wind turbine sites. We also found that the inference from the land cover change matrices is dependent on the level of class aggregation (level 1, 2 or 3).