Harmonization of the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) with the General Habitat Categories (GHC) classification system

Vasiliki Kosmidou, Zisis Petrou, Robert G.H. Bunce, Caspar A. Mücher, Robert H.G. Jongman, Marion M.B. Bogers, Richard M. Lucas, Valeria Tomaselli, Palma Blonda, Emilio Padoa-Schioppa, Ioannis Manakos, Maria Petrou

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38 Citations (SciVal)


Monitoring land cover and habitat change is a key issue for conservation managers because of its potential negative impact on biodiversity. The Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) and the General Habitat Categories (GHC) System have been proposed by the remote sensing and ecological research community, respectively, for the classification of land covers and habitats across various scales. Linking the two systems can be a major step forward towards biodiversity monitoring using remote sensing. The translation between the two systems has proved to be challenging, largely because of differences in definitions and related difficulties in creating one-to-one relationships between the two systems. This paper proposes a system of rules for linking the two systems and additionally identifies requirements for site-specific contextual and environmental information to enable the translation. As an illustration, the LCCS classification of the Le Cesine protected area in Italy is used to show rules for translating the LCCS classes to GHCs. This study demonstrates the benefits of a translation system for biodiversity monitoring using remote sensing data but also shows that a successful translation is often depending on the degree of ecological knowledge of the habitats and its relationship with land cover and contextual information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-300
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Indicators
Early online date04 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014


  • habitat
  • land cover
  • biodiversity monitoring
  • remote sensing
  • plant life forms
  • strategic survey


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