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Land cover

The observed (bio)physical cover of the Earth's surface. The main classes in the LUCAS land cover nomenclature are as follows ( artificial land, cropland, woodland, shrubland, grasland, bareland, water, wetland.

Land take

Increase of settlement areas over time. This process includes the development of scattered settlements in rural areas, the expansion of urban areas around an urban nucleus (including urban sprawl), and the conversion of land within an urban area (densification).

Land use

The socio-economic purpose of the land. The main classes can be found in the LUCAS land use nomenclature ( We focus on agriculture.


A general term for a mass movement landform and a process characterized by moderately rapid to rapid (greater than 30 cm per year) downslope transport by means of gravitational stresses, of a mass of rock and regolith that may or may not be water saturated.


Removal of soluble materials from one zone in soil to another via water downward movement in the profile.


A composite of fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. The fungi capture and cultivate photosynthetic organisms which together provide themselves needed water and nutrients. Lichen species occur in many colors including black, brown, dark olive green, red, yellow and white.


A hard-to-degrade compound that is part of the structure of older or woody plants. The carbon rings in lignin can be degraded by a few fungi.


Small non-vascular plants.

Livestock Unit (L(S)U)

A reference unit which facilitates the aggregation of livestock from various species and age as per convention, via the use of specific coefficients established initially on the basis of the nutritional or feed requirement of each type of animal (see table below for an overview of the most commonly used coefficients). The reference unit used for the calculation of livestock units (=1 LSU) is the grazing equivalent of one adult dairy cow producing 3 000 kg of milk annually, without additional concentrated foodstuffs. LU


Material transported and deposited by wind and consisting of predominantly silt-sized particles, forming important fertile soils.

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