• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC)

  • By: Yi-Chen Wang
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Land use and cover change (LUCC) refers to the alteration of Earth's terrestrial surface. The terms land use and land cover may seem to be interchangeable, but they are not equivalent. Land cover denotes the observed biological and physical attributes of Earth's terrestrial surface, such as vegetation, water, earth materials, and human-made features. Land use signifies the purposes to which the varied resources offered by the biophysical attributes of land cover are exploited by human activities, such as cropping, logging, and building construction. Forest, for example, is a land cover type that may be exploited for land uses as diverse as cultivation, recreation, and settlement.

Studies of land cover and land use were historically separate; the former was largely studied by natural scientists, the latter mainly ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles