Corine Land Cover Nomenclature in SKOS

This is the human-readable version of the SKOS concept scheme developed from the Corine Land Cover Classes published by the European Environment Agency. In any variance between the EEA documentation and this document, the original documentation is authoritative.

The SKOS concept scheme was developed under the SmartOpenData, project, funded under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, grant 603824.

Authors: Phil Archer, Jindřich Mynarz, Tatiana Tarasova.

Comments concerning this document should be send to

This document is also available in Turtle and RDF/XML. Those files include labels in Slovak provided by Slovenska Agentura Zivotneho Prostredia (Slovak Ministry of Environment) in their CORINE landcover data.

Status of this Document

This SKOS scheme is stable. Definitions may be updated to clarify semantics if appropriate but the basic definitions will not change.

This is not a W3C standard and has not been endorsed by the W3C Membership.

1. Artificial surfaces

Any artificial land surface.

1.1 Urban fabric

The level 2 concept to cover continuous or discontinuous urban fabric.

1.1.1 Continuous urban fabric

Most of the land is covered by structures and the transport network.

Buildings, roads and artificially surfaced areas cover more than 80% of the total surface. Non-linear areas of vegetation and bare soils are exceptional.


80 % of the total surface at least should be impermeable.

This heading includes:
  • urban centre types and dense ancient suburbs where buildings form a continuous and homogeneous fabric;
  • public services or local governments and commercial/industrial activities with their connected areas inside continuous urban fabric when their surface is less than 25 ha;
  • interstices of mineral areas, un-vegetated cemeteries and cemeteries less than 25 ha located inside continuous urban fabric.

1.1.2 Discontinuous urban fabric

Most of the land is covered by structures. Buildings, roads and artificially surfaced areas are associated with vegetated areas and bare soils, which occupy discontinuous but significant surfaces.


Between 30 to 80 % of the total surface should be impermeable.

The continuous urban fabric class is assigned when the urban structures and transport network (i.e. impermeable surfaces) occupies more than 80 % of the surface area. This coverage percentage pertains to real ground surface. Therefore, localization of this cut-off-point requires particular attention to avoid confusion with the apparent vegetation (e.g. visible crown of trees) and permeable surfaces under trees. For example, in the streets bordered with trees, the real ground surface under the trees is mostly covered with asphalt or concrete. So, the vegetation percentage has to be estimated taking into account the shape structure and context visible on the satellite image. In particular, vegetation impact has to be underestimated in case of linear structure of vegetation.

The discrimination between continuous and discontinuous urban fabric is set from the presence of vegetation visible in the satellite image illustrating either single houses with gardens or scattered apartment blocks with green areas between them.

The density of houses is the main criteria to attribute a land cover class to the built-up areas or to the agricultural areas. In case of patchwork of small agricultural parcels and scattered houses, the cut-off-point to be applied for discontinuous urban fabric is 30 % at least of urban fabric within the patchwork area.

This heading includes:
  • private housing estates, residential suburbs made of individual houses with privative gardens and/or small squares;
  • scattered blocks of residential flats, hamlets, small villages where numerous un-mineralized intersticial spaces : gardens, lawns can be distinguished;
  • large blocks of flats where green spaces, parking areas and adventure playgrounds cover significant surface area;
  • un-vegetated or smaller than 25 ha cemeteries included within discontinuous fabric;
  • public utilities/communities surfaced areas less than 25 ha;
  • holiday cottage houses are included in 112 if infrastructures like road network is visible in the satellite images,
    They must also be connected to built-up areas.
  • troglodyte villages along streets and subterranean housings visible from the satellite image.
This heading excludes:
  • vacation houses areas which are only used for recreational purposes and defined as a specific unit in the satellite image should be classified as 142.
  • holiday settlements with bungalows have to be classified as 142.
  • scattered main and secondary residences implanted in natural or agricultural areas when their coverage is less than 30 % of the total surface. They are assigned 242 or 243
  • greenhouses are assigned to 211.

1.2. Industrial, commercial and transport units

The level 2 concept covering industrial or commercial units, road and rail networks and associated land, port areas, airports.

1.2.1 Industrial or commercial units

Artificially surfaced areas (cement, asphalt, tarmacadam or stabilized e.g. beaten earth) without vegetation occupy most of the area, which also contains building and/or vegetation.

This heading includes:
  • research and development establishments;
  • security, law and order services (fire stations, penal establishments);
  • company benefit schemes (old people's home, convalescent homes, orphanages, etc.);
  • stud farms, agricultural facilities (cooperatives, state farm centres, livestock farms, living and exploitation buildings);
  • exposition sites, fair sites;
  • nuclear power plants, military barracks, testing pistes, test fields, biological waste water treatment plants, water houses, transformers);
  • large shopping centres;
  • abandoned industrial sites and by-products of industrial activities where buildings are still present;
  • water retention and hydro-electric stations;
  • telecommunication networks (relay stations for TV, telescopes, radars.)
This heading excludes:
  • extractive industry (class 131);
  • oil terminals inside port activities (class 123);
  • dumps , decanting basin structures (class 132);
  • dockyards (class 123);
  • merchant departments belonging to privative or public services (class 11x);
  • places of worship : convents, monasteries, etc (class 142)

1.2.2 Road and rail networks and associated land

Motorways and railways, including associated installations (stations, platforms, embankments). Minimum width for inclusion: 100m.

This heading includes:
  • motorway rest areas, service stations, parking lot areas, haulage depots connected on motorway networks, services and maintenance activities for roads, toll-booths;
  • marshalling yards, perimeter of stations, services and maintenance activities for trains;
  • tramways networks;
  • cableway networks.
This heading excludes:
  • motorways and high-speed train under construction (133).
  • closed-down transport network (classified under the real appropriate land cover category)

1.2.3 Port areas

Infrastructure of port areas, including quays, dockyards and marinas.

This heading includes:
  • commercial and military ports;
  • shipyards;
  • fishing ports;
  • yachts ports, sport and recreation ports;
  • shipping and infrastructure port facilities;
  • sea, river and lake ports;
  • harbour stations, dock houses;
  • oil terminals.
This heading excludes:
  • industrial and commercial units larger than 25 ha associated with port activities (class 121).

1.2.4 Port areas

Airport installations: runways, buildings and associating lands.


Associating lands (mainly grassland).

This heading includes:
  • military airports.
This heading excludes:
  • temporary airports with not asphalted runways and small buildings used for sporting, tourism, ambulance services and recreation purposes are assigned to 142;
  • disused airport or airfield should be assigned to 321.

1.3 Mine, dump and construction sites

The level 2 concept to cover mineral extraction sites, dump sites, construction sites.

1.3.1 Mineral extraction sites

Areas with open-pit-extraction of construction material (sand pit, quarries) or other mineral (open-cast mines). Includes flooded gravel pits, except for river-bed extraction.

This heading includes:
  • ballast, sand, clay, kaolin, gravel, hard stones quarries;
  • extraction and conglomeration areas of solid fuels (coal, lignite);
  • rock salt pits;
  • sand extraction site inside coastal dune areas;
  • inland salines in north African countries.
This heading excludes:
  • petroleum, gas and liquid petroleum gas, oil shales extraction site (class 121);
  • exploited peatbogs (class 412);
  • associated land of mines where barren materials are dumped (coal tips, slag dumps) (class 132);
  • coastal salines (class 422);
  • scree-covered areas (class 332);
  • extraction sites abandoned and reconverted to leisure areas (class 142).

1.3.2 Dump sites

Public, industrial or mine dump sites.


Dump sites of raw materials or liquid wastes.

This heading includes:
  • dump sites areas within industrial units areas;
  • liquid wastes originating in mainly chemical industry;
  • sewage farms connected to sewage plants;
  • slag heaps which are un-vegetated.
This heading excludes:
  • decanting basins of biological water treatment plants by means of lagoonage processing (class 121);
  • dump sites abandoned and reconverted to leisure areas (class 142);
  • vegetated slag heaps (class 3xx).

1.3.3 Construction sites

Spaces under construction development, soil or bed rock excavations, earthworks.

This heading includes:
  • Public and industrial fabric structures, road and rail networks, etc under constructions.
This heading excludes:
  • completed parts of under construction transport networks when they are larger than 25 ha.

1.4. Artificial, non-agricultural vegetated areas

The level 2 concept covering green urban areas, sport and leisure facilities.

1.4.1 Green urban areas

Areas with vegetation within the urban fabric, including parks, cemeteries with vegetation, and mansions and their grounds.


Cemeteries with important vegetation coverage.

Green urban areas concern all laid out vegetated areas greater than 25 ha which are weither situated inside or in contact with urban fabrics.

Greenery with strips of lanes and pathes may be found within these areas created for recreational use.

This heading includes:
  • park woodlots;
  • park lawns;
  • park basins;
  • park flower bed, harbor and shrub berry;
  • park and city squares;
  • ornemental gardens;
  • city blocks inner spaces;
  • botanical and zoological gardens;
  • vegetated areas which can be used for recreation purpose even it is not their main utilisation such as woods in urban fabric.
This heading excludes:
  • city gardens (class 242)
  • vegetated cemeteries outside urban fabric (class 142);
  • unvegetated cemeteries inside urban fabric (class 1.1.x).

1.4.2 Sport and leisure facilities

Camping ground, sport ground, leasure parks, golf courses, race courses, etc. Includes formal parks not surrounded by urban areas.

This heading includes:
  • camping and caravaning parking organized for recreational purpose (excluding commercial activities);
  • small airfields with grass runways and small buildings;
  • important archeological ruins;
  • indoor sport facilities;
  • cottage areas used for recreation and leasure activities outside the settlements only for temporary sejourns;
  • zoological/botanical gardens outside urban fabric;
  • forest parks outside built up areas;
  • vegetated and military cemeteries outside settlements, hoby/city gardens;
  • motor-racing circuit;
  • ski resorts (except the ski pistes).
This heading excludes:
  • motor-racing circuit inside industrial unit areas used for test purpose (class 121);
  • beaches (class 331);
  • camping areas within forests that are not specially prepared with this object (class 31x);
  • stud farms (class 121).

2. Agricultural areas

Any area used for agriculture

2.1 Arable land

The level 2 concept covering cultivated areas regularly ploughed and generally under a rotation system.

2.1.1 Non-irrigated arable land

Cereals, legumes, fodder crops, root crops and fallow land. Includes flowers and tree (nurseries cultivation) and vegetables, whether open field or under plastic or glass (includes market gardening). Includes aromatic, medicinal and culinary plants. Does not include permanent pasture.


Includes flower, tree (nurseries) and vegetable cultivations.

Includes other annually harvested plants with more than 75 % of area under rotation system.

This heading includes:
  • leguminous permanent plants as asparagus;
  • flooded crops as water cross beds;
  • semi-permanent crops as strawberries;
  • temporary fallow lands (lands under three years' rotation system);
  • drained arable land should be mapped as 211 instead of 212;
  • fragmented agricultural land use resulting in juxtaposition of different annual crops;
  • weeded crops;
  • non-permanent industrial crops as textile plants, oleaginous plants;
  • tobacco;
  • chicory plants;
  • condiment plants;
  • sugar cane;
  • flowers under rotation system;
  • industrial flower crops as lavender species;
  • nurseries-garden (non-forestry nurseries);
  • garaats in Mediterranean region.
This heading excludes:
  • city gardens (class 242);
  • lands which lie fallow at least for three years (class 32x);
  • hop plantations (class 222);
  • rice fields (class 213);
  • forest tree nurseries with non-commercial purposes located in forest areas (3.1);
  • fruit trees and berry plantation under glass greenhouses (class 222);
  • osier trees for wicker production (class 222);
  • permanent plantations of roses (class 222);
  • wine-growing nurseries (class 221).

2.1.2 Permanently irrigated land

Crops irrigated permanently or periodically, using a permanent infrastructure (irrigation channels, drainage network). Most of these crops could not be cultivated without an artificial water supply. Does not include sporadically irrigated land.


Excludes drainage network areas, which are assigned to 221, 231 or 242, applied for pumping infrastructure and irrigation system from superficial water supplying.

This heading includes:
  • recently abandoned irrigation systems;
  • sown grassland (as part of crop rotation) if the irrigation infrastructure is permanently present.
This heading excludes:
  • drainage network intended to clean up wet soils (classes 221, 231 or 242);
  • crops under greenhouses (classes 221 or 222);
  • underground irrigation pipes and above ground pipes and furrows (other cultivation classes);
  • spray sprinkler line (other cultivation classes);
  • rotory sprinkler (other cultivation classes);
  • rice fields (class 213).

2.1.3 Rice fields

Land prepared for rice cultivation. Flat surfaces with irrigation channels. Surfaces periodically flooded.


Abandoned rice field are not included.

A one or two yearsã rotation is applied for rice fields, therefore the land cover is mapped according to the presence at the time of satellite data acquisition.

This heading excludes:
  • ancient rice field with irrigation channels should be mapped according to their actual land cover (mainly classes 211 or 231);
  • abandoned rice fields (class 2xx).

2.2 Permanent crops

Crops not under a rotation system which provide repeated harvests and occupy the land for a long period before it is ploughed and replanted: mainly plantations of woody crops. Excludes pastures, grazing lands and forests.

2.2.1 Vineyards

Areas planted with vines.


Vineyard areas are classified as 221 if the vineyard parcels exceed 50 % of the area and/or they determine the land use of the area.

This heading includes:
  • vine-growing nurseries inside vineyards areas;
  • vineyards for wine production;
  • vineyards for eating grapes and raisins;
  • complex cultivation pattern areas where vineyards parcels cover at least 50 % of the area.
This heading excludes:
  • vines mixed with arable land and/or meadows within a single parcel (class 241);
  • vines mixed with arable land and/or meadows interspersed with significant amount of natural vegetation, and vineyards parcels cover less than 40% of the area (class 243).

2.2.2 Fruit trees and berry plantations

Parcels planted with fruit trees or shrubs: single or mixed fruit species, fruit trees associated with permanently grassed surfaces. Includes chestnut and walnut groves.


Ligneous crops.

Includes chestnut and walnut trees orchards, intended for fruit production.

This heading includes:
  • hop plantations;
  • plantations of berry shrubs, black and/or red currants, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberry crops;
  • willow plantation for wicker production;
  • fruit trees under greenhouses;
  • abandoned orchards which still preserve characteristic alignments;
  • fruit, orchards of apples, pears, plums, apricots, peaches, cherries, figs, quinces and other rosaceae;
  • ligneous crops : chestnut, walnut, almond, hazel, pistachio groves;
  • permanent florist plantations of roses;
  • plantation of vines associated to fruit trees within the same parcel, where vines cover less than 40 % of the surface;
  • tropical fruit trees : avocados, bananas, guavas, mangos, kiwis, passion fruits, papayas, pineapples, pomegranates, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, coconuts, nutmegs;
  • citrus fruit trees : oranges, lemons, mandarins, tangerines, grape fruits, pomelos;
  • permanent industrial plants: coffee, cacao, mulberry, tea;
  • recently abandoned orchards where characteristic plantation structures (espaliers and climbers) are still visible.
This heading excludes:
  • strawberries (class 211);
  • olive groves (class 223);
  • vineyard (class 221);
  • tree nurseries (class 311);
  • carob trees (class 311);
  • chestnut and walnut grove forests intended for wood production (class 311);
  • abandoned orchards where plantation structures are being disappeared (class 324);
  • date palm groves (class 244);
  • orchards located in permanently irrigated lands (class 212);
  • leguminous permanent plants as asparagus (class 211).

2.2.3 Olive groves

Areas planted with olive trees, including mixed occurrence of olives trees and vines on the same parcel.


Mediterranean plantations of Olea europaea. ssp europaea.

This heading includes:
  • olive groves shading herbaceous layer.
This heading excludes:
  • olive trees (Olea europaea ssp. sylvestris) as part of evergreen forest areas (class 311);
  • wild olive trees (Oleaster) as part of sclerophyllous vegetation areas (class 323);
  • abandoned olive groves (class 323).

2.3 Pastures

The level 2 concept covering one level 3 concept of Pastures

2.3.1 Pastures

Dense grass cover, of floral composition, dominated by graminaceae, not under a rotation system. Mainly for grazing, but the folder may be harvested mechanically. Includes areas with hedges (bocage).


Grazing used by cattle.

Pastures can be described as extensively used grass lands with presence of farm structure such as: fences, shelters, enclosures, watering places, drinking trough, or regular agricultural works: mowing, drainage, hay making, agricultural practices, manuring.

This heading includes:
  • temporary and artificial pastures not under rotation system which become permanent grasslands five years after ploughing. Significant number of natural vegetation species are present (as Taraxacum Officinale, Ranunculus sp. Chrisanthemum Leucantemum, Knautia Arvensis Achillea Millefolium, Salvia sp., etc.);
  • abandoned arable land not under rotation system used as pastures (after 3 years);
  • pastures may includes patches of arable land which do not cover 25 % of the total surface;
  • humid meadows with dominating grass cover. Sedges, rushes, thistles, nettles, cover less than 25 % of the parcel surface.
This heading excludes:
  • military exercising grassfields (without grazing) (class 321);
  • salt meadows located in intertidal flat areas (class 423);
  • lawns inside sport and leisure facility areas (class 142);
  • high-productive natural alpine meadows far from houses and/or crops (class 321);
  • fodder crops (class 211);
  • derelicted grassland where semi-ligneous/ligneous vegetation cover at least 25 % of the parcel (class 322/324);
  • strong humid meadows were hygrophyle plant species cover at least 25 % of the parcel (class 411);
  • herbaceous grass cover composed of non-palatable and undesirable species for cattle as molinia and brachypodium species (class 321).

2.4 Heterogeneous agricultural areas

The level 2 concept covering Annual crops associated with permanent crops, Complex cultivation, Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation, Agro-forestry areas

2.4.1 Annual crops associated with permanent crops

Non-permanent crops (arable land or pastures) associated with permanent crop on the same parcel.


Permanent crops are either in juxtaposition with arable lands/pastures or located along the border of the parcels. The occupying rate of non-permanent crops is more than 50 %.

This heading includes:
  • non-permanent crops areas in which they are shaded by a fairly closed canopy of fruit trees or olive trees or vines;
  • non-permanent crops areas which are bordered by a reticulated structure of fruit tree lines, vine lines;
  • some parcels of permanent crops more or less irregular with annual crops/pastures less than 25 ha and inserted into a dominating non-permanent crop whole where none of these crops is represented more than 75 %.
This heading excludes:
  • permanent crops associated with fruit trees (classes 2.2.x);
  • non-permanent crops associated with forest trees (class 244);
  • natural grasslands shaded by permanent crops (class 324);
  • pastures planted with trees (class 232).

2.4.2 Complex cultivation patterns

Juxtaposition of small parcels of diverse annual crops, pasture and/or permanent crops.


Juxtaposition of small parcels of, annual crops, city gardens pastures, fallow lands and/or permanent crops somewhere with scattered houses.

This heading includes:
  • mixed parcels of permanent crops (fruit trees, berry plantations, vineyards and olive groves);
  • interstices of non-mineralized free spaces in discontinuous urban fabric > 25 ha;
  • complex cultivation patterns areas with scattered house inserted within a patchwork structure when built-up parcels cover less than 30 % of the patchwork area;
  • hobby/city gardens.
This heading excludes:
  • market gardening (class 211);
  • nurseries cultivation (class 211);
  • in spite of strong fragmentation, the areas with more than 75 % of area under rotation system (class 211);
  • areas with scattered houses when they occupy more than 30 % of the patchwork area (class 112).

2.4.3 Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation

Areas principally occupied by agriculture, interspersed with significant natural areas.


Land occupied by agriculture with areas of natural or semi-natural areas (including wetlands and water bodies, outcrops).

This heading includes:
  • linear structures of trees organized for truffle producing;
  • hortillonage (vegetable crops and canals);
  • agriculture and scattered heaps of stones.
This heading excludes:
  • agricultural lands associated with small plots of fruit trees/olive groves (class 242);
  • areas in which the share of agricultural areas is above 75 % (classes 21x, 22x or 23x);
  • areas in which semi-natural areas predominate (more 75 %) (classes 3xx).

2.4.4 Agro-forestry areas

Annual crops or grazing land under the wooded cover of forestry species.


Annual crops or grazing land and fallow land do cover less than 50 % of the surface.

This heading includes:
  • areas of forest trees imbricated with fruit trees/olive trees when both kind of trees are not dominating;
  • carob trees shading agricultural lands;
  • agricultural land shaded by palm trees in Mediterranean context.

3. Forests and seminatural areas

Wooded and open areas

3.1 Forests

The level 2 concept covering broadleaved, coniferous and mixed forest.

3.1.1 Broad-leaved forest

Vegetation formation composed principally of trees, including shrub and bush under storeys, where broad-leaved species predominate.


With a crown cover of more than 30 % or a 500 subjects/ha density for plantation structure, broad-leaved trees represent more than 75 % of the planting formation. Three heights under normal climatic conditions are higher than 5 m.

This heading includes:
  • plantations of e.g. eucalyptus, poplars;
  • walnut trees and chestnut trees used for wood production included into forest area context;
  • sparse broad-leaved forests with a 30 - 60 % bracket of crown cover;
  • evergreen broad-leaved woodlands composed of sclerophyllous trees (mainly Quercus Ilex, Quercus Suber, Quercus Rotondifolia);
  • arborescent mattoral with sclerophyllous species;
  • olive-carob forests dominated by Olea europaea sylvestris, Ceratonia siliqua;
  • palm groves woodlands;
  • holly woods dominated by Ilex aquifolium;
  • tamarix woodlands;
  • broad-leaved wooded dunes;
  • transitional woodland areas when the canopy closure of trees cover more than 50 % of the area and if their average breast diameter is at least 10 cm;
  • sub-arctic broadleaved forests, not reaching the 5 m height.
This heading excludes:
  • burnt areas inside forest areas (classes 32x or 334);
  • non-evergreen coniferous trees dominated by larix species (class 312);
  • woodland areas composed of broad-leaved trees smaller than 5 m high (class 322);
  • vegetated areas where the crown cover of the broad-leaved trees is less than 25 % (class 324);
  • forest nurseries situated inside deciduous wooded areas (324);
  • wooded parks (class 141).

3.1.2 Coniferous forest

Vegetation formation composed principally of trees, including shrub and bush under storey, where coniferous species predominate.


Coniferous trees represent more than 75 % of the formation. Three heights under normal climatic conditions are higher than 5 m.

This heading includes:
  • non-evergreen coniferous trees woodland composed of larix species;
  • coniferous wooded dunes;
  • arborescent mattoral with dominating juniperus oxycedrus/phoenica;
  • coniferous wooded land;
  • Christmas trees plantations;
  • sub-arctic coniferous forests, not reaching the 5 m height.
This heading excludes:
  • dwarf coniferous trees as pinus mugo (class 322);
  • sclerophyllous forests (class 311);
  • forest nurseries situated inside coniferous wooded areas (324);
  • vegetated areas where the crown cover of coniferous trees is less than 30 % (class 324).

3.1.3 Mixed forest

Vegetation formation composed principally of trees, including shrub and bush under storeys, where neither broad-leaved nor coniferous species predominate.


With a crown cover of more than 30 % or a 500 subjects/ha density for plantation structure. The share of coniferous or broad-leaved species does not exceed 25 % in the canopy closure. Three heights under normal climatic conditions are higher than 5 m.

This heading includes:
  • mixed-forest wooded dunes;
  • sub-arctic coniferous forests, not reaching the 5 m height.
This heading excludes:
  • burnt areas inside mixed-forest areas (class 334);
  • forest nurseries situated inside mixed-forest areas (324);
  • woodlands with mixed species trees smaller than 5 m high (class 322);
  • vegetated areas where the crown cover of mixed species trees is less than 30 % (class 324).

3.2 Scrub and/or herbaceous vegetation associations

The level 2 concept covering natural grassland, moors and heatland, sclerophyllous vegetation anad transitional woodland/shrub.

3.2.1 Natural grasslands

Low productivity grassland. Often situated in areas of rough, uneven ground. Frequently includes rocky areas, briars and heatland.


Natural grasslands are areas, where herbaceous vegetation (maximum height is 150 cm and gramineous species are prevailing) which cover at least 75 % of the surface covered by vegetation.

This heading includes:
  • saline grasslands grown on temporally wet areas of saline soils;
  • humid meadows where sedges, rushes, thistles, nettles cover more than 25 % of the parcel;
  • natural grasslands with trees and shrubs if they do not cover more than 25 % of the surface to be considered;
  • high-productive Alpine grasslands far from houses, crops and farming activities;
  • herbaceous military training areas;
  • grasslands which can be grazed, never sown and not otherwise managed by way of application of fertilizers, pesticides, drainage or reseeding except by burning;
  • grasslands with a yearly productivity less than 1 500 units of fodder/ha;
  • herbaceous grass covered composed of non-palatable gramineous species such as Molinia spp. and Brachypodium spp.;
  • derelicted natural grass land where ligneous vegetation cover less than 75 % of the area;
  • grasslands found on calcareous soils with a high proportion of calcicole species of limestone, chalk Machair or Karst;
  • grasslands dotted with bare rock areas which represent less than 25 % of the surface.
This heading excludes:
  • grey dunes (class 331);
  • swampy grassland (class 411);
  • fallow-lands (class 211).

3.2.2 Moors and heathland

Vegetation with low and closed cover, dominated by bushes, shrub and herbaceous plants (heather, briars, broom, gorse, laburnum).


Temperate shrubby area vegetation: includes dwarf forest trees with a 3 m maximum height in climax stage.

This heading includes:
  • wet heath distributed on humid or semi-peaty soils (peat depth < 30 cm) with Erica tetralix/ciliaris, Sphagnum spp. and Molinia spp.;
  • Pinus mugo coverage above the upper tree limit in alpine zone or in the bottom of large depression with temperature inversion;
  • maritime, prostrate, wind-swept and cushiony heaths with maritime ecotypes;
  • heath and scrub formation in Atlantic, sub-Atlantic and sub-continental areas with gorse (Ulex spp.), vaccinium heaths (Calluna vulgaris, Vaccinium spp.), heather (Erica spp.), bracken or gorse (Genista spp.), Bilberry heaths (Vaccinium myrtillus), briar patch (Rubus spp.);
  • moors in supra-mediterranean area with box trees and gorse, hedgehog-heaths (Buxus spp., Astragalus spp., Bupleurum spp., etc.);
  • subalpine tall herbs with dominating bushy facies (Calluna spp., Vaccinium spp., Rubus spp., Juniperus nana, etc.);
  • artic moors areas with moss, lichen, gramineous coverage and small dwarf or prostrate shrub formations (Betula nana, Salix lapponum, Salix glauca, Juniperus alpina, Dryas spp.);
  • thickets and brush woods in temperate climate areas (box, bramble thickets, broom fields, gorse thickets, bracken fields, common juniper-scrubs);
  • brush woods and bush-like forest in alpine area with dwarf mountain pine scrub or green alder scrub (Pinus mugo spp., mughus and alnus spp.), alpine willow brush, etc, accompanied by Rhododendron spp.;
  • thickets and bush-like forest in artic area with Betula nana and Salix lapponum/glauca spp.;
  • abandoned crops where ligneous/semi-ligneous species cover more of 25 % of the surface;
  • coastal dunes (so-called brown dunes) covered and fixed with shrubs (Hippophae spp., Empetrum spp., Salix spp.);
  • herbaceous coverage formations mainly composed of non-palatable gramineous species such as Molinia spp., Brachypodium spp. etc.
This heading excludes:
  • low maquis/mattoral vegetation (class 323);
  • heatland under recolonizing process where tree-like species cover more than 30 % of the surface (class 324).

3.2.3 Sclerophyllous vegetation

Bushy sclerophyllous vegetation, including maquis and garrigue.


Evergreen sclerophyllous bushes and scrubs, which compose maquis, garrigue, mattoral and phrygana.

This heading includes:
  • mattoral of arid zone with pre-desert brushes and tall Ziziphus lotus;
  • laurrel mattoral with Laurus nobilis;
  • cypress mattoral with native or planted cupressus;
  • tree-spurge formation with dense stands of Euphorbia dendroides in thermo-Mediterranean area;
  • palmetto brush formations with dominating Chamaerops-humilis;
  • pre-desert scrub with halo-nitrophyllous scrubs and gypsum scrubs : jujube brush (Ziziphus lotus), shrubs of African affinities (spiny brush formation of accacia);
  • abandoned olive groves.
This heading excludes:
  • arborescent mattorals which are a pre- or post-broad-leaved evergreen forest formation with more or less dense arborescent cover with a usually thick high evergreen shrub stratum organised around evergreen oaks (Quercus suber/ilex/rotundifolia) olive trees or pines the crown cover of which is more than 30 % (class 311). If the crown cover is less than 30 %, it is assigned to 324.

3.2.4 Transitional woodland-shrub

Bushy or herbaceous vegetation with scattered trees. Can represent either woodland degradation or forest regeneration/recolonisation.

This heading includes:
  • arborescent mattorals which are pre- or post-formation of broad-leaved evergreen forest with a usually thick evergreen shrub stratum composed of evergreen oaks (Quercus suber, ilex, rotundifolia), olive trees, carob trees or pines the crown cover density of which is less than 30 % of the surface;
  • agricultural lands (classes 2xx) under recolonizing process with occurrence of forest trees which cover more than 30 % of the surface (scattered trees or small plots of forests);
  • abandoned fruit trees plantations and orchards;
  • clear cuts in forest areas;
  • young plantations;
  • forest nurseries inside forest areas;
  • natural grass land areas with small forests < 25 ha and/or with trees intermixed which cover more than 30 % of the surface;
  • open cleared-felled or regeneration areas with regrowing during transition stage which last for maximum 5-8 years;
  • forest burning areas which do not show black tone any more in the satellite image but are still visible;
  • heavily damaged forests by wind, snow-brake or acid rains with more than 50 % dead trees;
  • margin zones of bogs with a vegetation composed of shrubs and pine bogs which cover more than 50 % of the surface;
  • bare rocks with scattered trees that cover more than 10% of the surface.
This heading excludes:
  • transitional woodland areas when the area has been overgrown with forest vegetation. The canopy closure of which is at least 50 % and if the average breast diameter of trees is at least 10 cm (class 311);
  • abandoned olive groves (class 323);
  • agricultural lands (classes 2xx) with occurrence of forest vegetation with an overgrowing rate less than 50 % (class 243);
  • stable/climax tree-like forest formations with a tree height less than 4 m and Pinus mugo forests (class 322);
  • arborescent mattoral with trees the crown cover of witch is more than 30% (class 311).

3.3 Open spaces with little or no vegetation

The level 2 concept covering beaches, bare rock, sparsely vegetated areas, burnt areas, glaciers and perpetual snow.

3.3.1 Beaches, dunes, sands

Beaches, dunes and expanses of sand or pebble in coastal or continental locations, including beds of stream channels with torrential regime.


Supra-littoral beaches and dune developed at the back of the beach from high water mark toward lands.

This heading includes:
  • river dune formation in the immediate vicinity of great rivers;
  • inland and lacustrine dunes;
  • shifting dunes with mobile, un-vegetated or open grass lands (white dune);
  • grey dunes fixed, stabilized or colonized by more or less closed perennial grass lands;
  • machair formations (nature coastal sand-plane with more or less surface and grass land vegetation);
  • ergs (continental dune field located in desert);
  • accumulation of gravels along lower section of alpine rivers.
This heading excludes:
  • inland dune heaths (crowberry and heather brown dunes) (class 322);
  • inland dunes thickets occupied by dense formations of shrubs including sea-buckthorn, privet, elder, willow, gorse or broom often festooned with creepers (class 322);
  • dune juniper thickets and woods (class 32x);
  • dune sclerophyllous scrubs (class 323);
  • wooded dune (class 31x);
  • humid dune-slacks (class 411);
  • un-vegetated gravels on steep alpine mountain side (class 332);
  • vegetated islands inside stream beds (class 3xx).

3.3.2 Bare rocks

Scree, cliffs, rock outcrops, including active erosion, rocks and reef flats situated above the high-water mark.

This heading includes:
  • unvegetated abandoned extraction sites;
  • regs and hamadas in north-African area;
  • sparsely vegetated areas where 90 % of the land surface is covered by rocks;
  • stable rocks with limestone pavements, block litter and mountain-top-debris;
  • unvegetated lapiaz;
  • sites and products of recent volcanic activities, volcanic ash and lapilli fields, barren lava fields;
  • un-vegetated supra-littoral rocky zones.
This heading excludes:
  • white dunes (class 331);
  • medio-littoral rocky sea beds (class 423);
  • bare rocks with scattered trees that cover more than 10% of the surface (class 324).

3.3.3 Sparsely vegetated areas

Includes steppes, tundra and bad lands. Scattered high-altitude vegetation.


Scattered vegetation is composed of gramineous and/or ligneous and semi-ligneous species for determining the ground cover percentage, excluding cryptogams.

This heading includes:
  • sparsely vegetated and instable areas of stones, boulders, or rubble on steep slopes where vegetated layer covers between 15 % and 50 % of the surface;
  • sub-desertic steppes with gramineous species (Artemisia spp.) mixed with alfa (Stipa spp.) when they cover between 15 % and 50 % of the surface;
  • vegetation of "lapie" areas or limestone paving;
  • bare soils inside military training areas;
  • karstic areas of gramineous, ligneous and semi-ligneous vegetation.
This heading excludes:
  • windblown parts of dune areas (class 331);
  • areas where ground covers more than 85 % of the surface (class 332);
  • areas where vegetated layer covers more than 50 % of the surface (class 321);
  • dense alfa (stipa) coverage (class 321).

3.3.4 Burnt areas

Areas affected by recent fires, still mainly black.

This heading includes:
  • burns which are younger than three years and when they are still visible in the satellite images;
  • all natural and semi-natural vegetated areas.
This heading excludes:
  • human farming management by burning arable lands (class 211).

3.3.5 Glaciers and perpetual snow

Land covered by glaciers or permanent snow fields.

4. Wetlands

Any area dominated by water

4.1 Inland wetlands

Non-forested areas either partially, seasonally or permanently waterlogged. The water may be stagnant or circulating.

4.1.1 Inland marshes

Low-lying land usually flooded in winter and more or less saturated by water all year round.


Non-forested areas of low-lying land flooded or floodable by fresh, stagnant or circulating water. Covered by a specific low ligneous, semi-ligneous or herbaceous vegetation.

This heading includes:
  • Fens and transitional bogs without peat deposition or on peaty ground (peat layer is less than 30 cm thick) with specific vegetation composed of reeds, bulrushes, rushes, willows, sedges and tall herbs, sphagnum hummocks, often with alder or willows and other water plants;
  • marsh vegetation located in margin zones of raised bogs;
  • water-fringe vegetation of reed beds, sedge communities, fen-sedge beds, tall rush swamps, riparian cane formations;
  • high floating vegetation;
  • sebkhas in north-african area;
  • inland saline (alkali) marshes (prevailing arheic).
This heading excludes:
  • humid meadows (water logging of between 10 and 30 cm depth) (class 231);
  • rice fields (class 213);
  • free water space in wetlands (class 512);
  • salt marshes (class 421);
  • salt meadows in intertidal zone (class 421);
  • Garaat, (classified 211 or 411 according to land cover visible from the satellite image);
  • polders with reticulated channels bordered by hydrophitic vegetation (class 2xx);
  • humid forests with a crown cover more than 30 % (class 31x);
  • low floating aquatic vegetation (class 512).

4.1.2 Peat bogs

Peatland consisting mainly of decomposed moss and vegetable matter. May or may not be exploited.

This heading includes:
  • minerotrophic peat bogs fed by ground water or streams with mosses (Drepanocladus spp.) and Carex spp. or schoenus in alkaline bogs with occurence of Salix spp., Betula spp. and Alnus spp.;
  • ombrotrophic peat bogs fed only by direct precipitation with sphagnum species which are abondant and dominant with other acido philous plants such as Eriophorum vaginatum, Scirpus spp., Carex spp., Vaccinium oxicoccos, Andromeda spp., Drosera spp. and lichens;
  • blanket bogs with sphagnum species and Narthecium spp., Molinia spp., Scirpus spp., Shoenus spp., Erophiorum spp.;
  • boreal peat bogs with reticulated structure (aapa) with Sphagnum spp., Empetrum spp., Vaccinium spp., Betula nana, Salix nana, Carex spp. Erophorium spp., Utriculara spp., Drosera spp.;
  • peat extracting areas;
  • fossil artic peat bogs (palsa) with Vaccinium spp., Betula nana, Salix lapponum and Salix glauca, lichens and Carex spp.
This heading excludes:
  • bog eye > 25 ha : large pool or lake occurring near the centre of raised bogs (class 512);
  • transitional bogs on peaty soils (< 30 cm thick peat) (class 324);
  • wooded peat bogs (class 31x);
  • drained peat bogs (class 411);
  • abandoned peat milling areas (class 32x);
  • upland areas of blanket peat bogs where peat does not accumulate dominated by nardus or other deciduous grasses (class 321).

4.2 Maritime wetlands

Non-wooded areas either tidally, seasonally or permanently waterlogged with brackish or saline water.

4.2.1 Salt marshes

Vegetated low-lying areas, above the high-tide line, susceptible to flooding by sea water. Often in the process of filling in gradually being colonized by halophytic plants.

This heading includes:
  • Intertidal sand, silt or mud-based habitats colonized by halophytic grasses such as: Puccinelia spp., Spartina spp., rushes such as Juncus spp. and Blismus rufus and herbs such as Limonium spp., Aster tripolium, Salicornia spp. Includes all flowering plant communities which are submerged by high tides and some stage of the annual cycle;
  • salt meadow shep areas.
This heading excludes:
  • inland salt marshes with halophile and gypsophile communities (classes 333 or 411);
  • humid meadows of low vegetation dominated by Joncus gerardis, Carex divisa, Hordeum marinum or Trifolium spp. and Lotus spp. of the edge of brackish lagoons (class 411).

4.2.2 Salines

Salt pans, active or in process of abandonment. Sections of salt marsh exploited for the production of salt by evaporation. They are clearly distinguishable from the rest of the marsh by their parcellation and embankment systems.

This heading includes:
  • salines organized for breeding shellfish, fishes.

4.2.3 Intertidal flats

Generally un-vegetated expenses of mud, sand or rock lying between high and low water mark.


0 m marine contour on maps.

This heading includes:
  • intertidal seaweed-covered boulders, un-vegetated shores, covered by shattered rocks or boulders, cliffs and out cropping base-rocks.
This heading excludes:
  • salt marshes (class 421);
  • broadening of rivers entering the sea (class 522);
  • part of lagoon area directly connected to the sea which is artificially separated (class 521).

5. Water bodies

Any body of water.

5.1 Inland waters

The level 2 concept covering inland water courses and water bodies.

5.1.1 Water courses

Natural or artificial water courses serving as water drainage channels. Includes canals. Minimum width for inclusion: 100 m.

This heading includes:
  • sand or gravel accumulations along streams < 25 ha;
  • rivers which have been canalized.
This heading excludes:
  • areas of water bodies connected to water courses (class 512);
  • hydroelectric factory located on water courses > 25 ha (class 121).

5.1.1 Water bodies

Natural or artificial stretches of water.

This heading includes:
  • low floating aquatic vegetation with species such as Nuphar spp., Nymphaea spp., Potamageton spp. and Lemna spp.;
  • archipelago of lakes inside land areas;
  • water surfaces used for fresh-water fish-breeding activities.
This heading excludes:
  • surface plant species characteristic of standing water (e.g. Typha latifolia, Carex riparia, Glyceria maxima, Sparganium erectum and Phragmites communis (class 411);
  • liquid wastes (class 132).

5.2 Marine waters

The level 2 concept covering coastal lagoons, estuaries, sea and ocean.

5.2.1 Coastal lagoons

Stretches of salt or brackish water in coastal areas, which are separated from the sea by a tongue of land or other similar topography. These water bodies can be connected to the sea at limited points, either permanently or for parts of the year only.

This heading includes:
  • only water surface, vegetation fringe should be separated;
  • estuarine lagoon;
  • salt or brackish water surface remaining at low tide;
  • lagoons organized for breeding shell fishes.
This heading excludes:
  • salt marshes (class 421);
  • water courses (class 511);
  • beaches (class 331);
  • fresh water bodies along shore line (class 512).

5.2.2 Estuaries

The mouth of a river, within which the tide ebbs and flows.

This heading includes:
  • the water and the channel bed with the fringing vegetation zone > 25 ha.
This heading excludes:
  • bays and narrow channels (class 523);
  • fjords or fiards, ryas and straits (class 523);
  • fringing vegetation along the estuary channel bed > 25 ha (class 421).

5.2.3 Sea and ocean

Zones seaward of the lowest tide limit.

This heading excludes:
  • archipelago of lands located inside sea/ocean areas;
  • sea water areas as part of port areas which include sea water to reach zone > 25 ha.