Get access

A land cover map of South America


Hugh Eva, tel. +39 0332 78 5110, fax +39 0332 78 9073, e-mail:


A digital land cover map of South America has been produced using remotely sensed satellite data acquired between 1995 and the year 2000. The mapping scale is defined by the 1 km spatial resolution of the map grid-cell. In order to realize the product, different sources of satellite data were used, each source providing either a particular parameter of land cover characteristic required by the legend, or mapping a particular land cover class. The map legend is designed both to fit requirements for regional climate modelling and for studies on land cover change. The legend is also compatible with a wider, global, land cover mapping exercise, which seeks to characterize the world's land surface for the year 2000. As a first step, the humid forest domain has been validated using a sample of high-resolution satellite images. The map demonstrates both the major incursions of agriculture into the remaining forest domains and the extensive areas of agriculture, which now dominate South America's grasslands.

Get access to the full text of this article