OECD Green Growth Papers

The OECD Green Growth Strategy, launched in May 2011, provides concrete recommendations and measurement tools to support countries’ efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while at the same time ensure that natural assets continue to provide the ecosystems services on which our well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development. OECD Green Growth Papers complement the OECD Green Growth Studies series, and aim to stimulate discussion and analysis on specific topics and obtain feedback from interested audiences.


Land Cover and Land Use Indicators

Review of available data

This paper identifies opportunities to refine OECD’s indicators of land cover and land use and their regular production for all OECD and G20 countries. A comprehensive review is conducted of the available datasets at the global, regional and national levels, including data derived from remote sensing as well as those complemented with administrative and survey data. The datasets are assessed in terms of their geographic coverage, periodicity, spatial resolution, data reliability and comparability. The paper discusses the potential use of such datasets for the production of indicators that are harmonised across countries and over time. It is found that data on land cover are widely available and that many OECD countries have good-quality national land cover datasets, in some cases consistently over time. However, considerable differences have been found among the land cover products reviewed in terms of their geographic coverage, spatial, temporal and thematic resolution. For eight countries, no country- or region-specific data could be found (including Israel, Korea, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia). On the other hand, data on land use seem to be much scarcer, available only for Australia, European countries, Japan and the United States. The paper concludes with a discussion of selection guidelines for, and examples of, potentially suitable datasets in terms of their geographic coverage and the temporal, spatial and thematic resolution.


Keywords: remote sensing, land use, land cover, satellite data
JEL: R52: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Regional Government Analysis / Regional Government Analysis: Land Use and Other Regulations; R11: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / General Regional Economics / Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes; Q56: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth; Q57: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Ecological Economics: Ecosystem Services; Biodiversity Conservation; Bioeconomics; Industrial Ecology
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