Atlas of the Biosphere
Land Use

Land Use

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In order to feed and house the millions of new people added to the Earth each year, there has been an unprecedented intensification of global land use. Cities have been expanding into the surrounding countryside, farms continue to amalgamate into larger and larger entities, and forests continue to be cleared at an alarming rate to make way for pastures or subsistence cropland. These practices are most evident in the developing world, which is currently undergoing the largest population and resource crunch history has seen.

Built-Up Land

Description: The percentage of each gridcell containing built-up land.

Source: Miteva, Billie (2001)

Categories: Human ImpactsLand Use

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Croplands (1992)

Description: The fraction of each gridcell containing croplands in 1992.

Source: Ramankutty and Foley (1999)

Categories: Land Use

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Irrigated Lands

Description: Land area equipped for irrigation in 1995 as a percentage of the total area of the gridcell.

Source: Döll and Siebert (2000), Siebert and Döll (2001)

Categories: Land UseWater Resources

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Soil Organic Carbon

Description: The total mass of soil carbon (to one meter) contained in a gridcell.

Source: IGBP-DIS (1998)

Categories: Land UseEcosystems

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Soil pH

Description: The pH of the soil in a gridcell.

Source: IGBP-DIS (1998)

Categories: Land UseEcosystems

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Suitability for Agriculture

Description: The fraction of each grid cell that is considered suitable for agriculture based on temperature and soil quality measurements.

Source: Ramankutty et al. (2001)

Categories: Land Use

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