Land use

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As land use (including land use ) is the type of use of soils and land areas (parts of the solid surface) designated by humans. In the case of specific agricultural use, one also speaks of land use . Occasionally the term land use is also used synonymously with land use.

The various types of use of agriculture and forestry, industry, settlements, traffic, wasteland etc. - the z. B. in Germany make up shares of 55%, 29%, 11% and 5% - are recorded in the form of a schematic classification , which is relatively precise and complex in industrialized countries and comprises around 20 to 50 classes, while developing countries are around 10 to Restrict 15 usage classes.

The type of soil and land use in Europe has changed noticeably since the Middle Ages due to industrialization and has increasingly become a topic of spatial planning since the middle of the 20th century . Both in the densely populated areas and in rural areas , conflicts of use arise from the overlapping and competition of different types of use and their direct and indirect effects. In addition to everyday human life, cultural structures and the economy, the natural balance is also affected, in particular the soil and water balance , local climate, ecosystem and biodiversity, e.g. B. through the use-related material and structural loads. At the same time, the importance of rural areas as a compensatory space for urban areas and by outsourcing urban functions to the surrounding area is increasing . A periodic assessment of land use and its changes is therefore necessary.

Historically, land use was recorded mostly by the financial administration ( income tax and property tax ), while today it is an interdisciplinary task to which agriculture , geography , geodesy and remote sensing as well as spatial planning contribute, and to a lesser extent soil science, Forestry , regional agricultural policy and state agricultural support.

Current and historical figures for Germany

In the last survey on December 31, 2015, the Federal Environment Agency calculated the following land use in Germany:

  • 51.6% agricultural area
  • 30.6% forest area
  • 13.7% settlement and traffic area
  • 2.4% water surface
  • 1.7% other areas

In comparison, the changes to the survey of 1936 (Germany within the limits at that time):

  • 43.6% arable land
  • 27.3% forest
  • 17.4% meadows and pastures
  • 4.9% roads, water and railways
  • 3.8% wasteland
  • 1.4% settlement area

Note: There were noticeably strong changes in the area of ​​settlement and traffic areas. Including the water surfaces that remained almost the same, these rose 2.5 times. It must be taken into account that the population "only" increased by about 26% in the same period. The reduction in the national area of ​​Germany, on the other hand, is of subordinate importance in this relationship.

Land use intensity

One differentiates among other things according to the intensity of the land use. There are flowing transitions between the two forms, because each land use shows its own degree of intensification.

intensive land use

Management forms with various (cost) intensive investments and measures to ameliorate the areas and increase the soil yield such as:

Examples: Conventional agriculture , greenhouse cultivation , livestock farming , most plantations , rice terraces

extensive land use

The use of land with little or no financial investments in areas such as:

  • little to no use of fertilizers
  • a lot of manual labor, gentle tillage
  • Small-plot structures
  • Cultivation of traditional varieties
  • No use of pesticides
  • often a wide variety of operational fields

Examples: many traditional land use systems (but not all), shifting cultivation , three-field system , selection forest , pastures , mobile pastoralism , nomadism

sustainable land use

Sustainable land use is the use of land in such a way that the essential properties, stability and natural regenerative capacity of the land are preserved. Many traditional (not all) and some intensive land uses are considered sustainable.

Sustainability is the main goal of organic agriculture . a. should be achieved by excluding artificial fertilizers and genetic engineering , protecting the groundwater , leaving natural field margins and embankments or water removal .

Usage classes

In Europe, land use has been recorded terrestrially (through systematic inspection) since around 1800 - e.g. B. in Germany and Austria-Hungary in the course of tax and national surveys as a "culture class". Since then, it has also been included in tax assessment and has been increasingly supplemented or refined by satellite and remote sensing methods since the 1970s .

In the mid-1980s, the classification of land areas (albeit land cover) was converted to an EU- wide standardized classification and updated. As part of the CORINE program, experts in every EU member state evaluate digital satellite images . The data are processed in a geographic information system (GIS) and are now available as digital maps on a scale of around 1: 100,000.

The 13 main classes of land cover that form the framework for all EU countries are:

  • Settlement areas (including traffic areas)
  • Arable land
  • Permanent crops
  • Grassland
  • Deciduous and mixed forest
  • Coniferous forest
  • Alpine mats
  • Mountain pines, Krummholz
  • Rock faces
  • Sparse vegetation
  • glacier
  • Wet areas
  • Bodies of water.

A completely different classification is the LCCS ( Land Cover Classification System ), which the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO has proposed as a global but only rough framework. Of the eight main classes, four each relate to (un) cultivated land and (un) cultivated water . This system can also be more finely subdivided , especially for arable land .

Land use changes

Direct and indirect land use change

In the context of agricultural land use, especially when cultivating energy crops for the production of agrofuels, a distinction is made between direct and indirect land use change (dLUC for short, or indirect land use change or iLUC). The former describes the conversion of land that was not previously used for growing crops into areas for planting raw materials. The indirect land use change describes the effect that areas are used for the cultivation of energy crops that were originally intended for the production of food. Thus, on the one hand, food prices rise due to a supply shortage and, on the other hand, there is a displacement of food and feed production, for which new areas must be developed for agriculture.

Since the Renewable Energy Sources Directive (2009/28 / EC) came into force , which provides for at least 10 percent of fossil fuel demand to be replaced by renewable energies from 2020, so-called biofuels have been heavily promoted in the EU through statutory admixture quotas, tax breaks and subsidies . Climate protection was cited above all for the use of biofuels. However, critics point out the greenhouse gas emissions caused by iLUC (e.g. through the clearing of the rainforest for oil palm plantations for the production of biodiesel ) and it is discussed whether and to what extent these so-called iLUC factors affect the raw materials used for the production of biofuels and their Origin should be taken into account. The Institute for European Environmental Policy comes to the conclusion that the additional demand of 15.1 million tons of crude oil equivalent of biofuel by 2020 (compared to 2008) would lead to an indirect land use change of 4.1 to 6.9 million hectares (an area slightly larger than the Netherlands or slightly smaller than Ireland).

In this context, the European Commission has commissioned several studies on indirect land use changes and their consideration, the revised versions of which were later published partly after public pressure. The studies come to the conclusion that indirect land use changes have a significant impact on the climate balance of biofuels. Biodiesel made from vegetable oils such as palm oil, rapeseed and soy, in particular, can release more carbon than fossil diesel. In response to the results, biofuels such as the E10 sold in Germany will no longer be subsidized by the EU from 2020.

Land consumption

The conversion of bodies of water, agricultural areas and forest areas into settlement and traffic areas is called land consumption . In Germany, one of the goals of the sustainability strategy is to reduce annual land consumption to 30 hectares per day by 2020 .

See also


  • JEK : Handbook of surveying. Volume Ia. JB Metzler, Stuttgart 1955.
  • Johannes Müller: Landscape elements made by human hands. Spektrum-Verlag, Heidelberg 2005.
  • Land use and climate .
  • Kühbauch, Walter (1993): Intensity of land use in the course of time. The Earth Sciences; 11, 4; 121-129; doi : 10.2312 / geosciences . 1993.11.121 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. land use. In: Lexicon of Geography. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, accessed October 17, 2017 .
  2. ↑ Land use. (No longer available online.) In: Glossary. Leibniz Institute for Ecological Spatial Development, archived from the original on October 18, 2017 ; accessed on October 17, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Ulrich Willerding : Land use in the vicinity of urban and rural settlements in the Middle Ages. In: Peter Dilg , Gundolf Keil, Dietz-Rüdiger Moser (eds.): Rhythm and Seasonality. Congress files of the 5th symposium of the Medievalist Association in Göttingen 1993. Sigmaringen 1995, pp. 377–402.
  4. ↑ Land use in Germany ( Memento of the original from September 30, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Dr. Paul Wiel: Space, Economy, People, State. 2nd Edition. Publishing house Dr. Max Gehlen, Berlin 1936, page 26.
  6. Review of IFPRI study “Assessing the Land Use Change Consequences of European Biofuel policies and its uncertainties” (PDF; 3.7 MB) Kiel Institute for the World Economy. oJ Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  7. iLUC - indirect land use change . Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants eV. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  8. Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels and Bioliquids in the EU - An Analysis of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (PDF; 395 kB) Institute for European Environmental Policy. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved September 25, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. ^ Renewable energy . Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  10. Indirect Land Use Change from increased biofuels demand - Comparison of models and results for marginal biofuels production from different feedstocks (PDF; 1.3 MB) 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  11. "ILUC" effect - Brussels abolishes E10 subsidies . Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  12. Goals and indicators. Federal Environment Agency , March 11, 2016, accessed on October 18, 2017 .