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Land resources are one of the four components of the natural environment: water, air, land and living resources. In this context land is both: a physical "milieu" necessary for the development of natural vegetation as well as cultivated vegetation; a resource for human activities. The data presented here give information concerning land use state and changes (e.g. agricultural land, forest land). Land area excludes area under inland water bodies (i.e. major rivers and lakes). Arable refers to all lan generally under rotation, whether for temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted only once) or meadows, or left fallow (less than five years). These data are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable. Permanent crops are those that occupy land for a long period and do not have to be planted for several years after each harvest (e.g. cocoa, coffee, rubber). Land under vines and trees and shrubs producing fruits, nuts and flowers, such as roses and jasmine, is so classified, as are nurseries (except those for forest trees, which should be classified under "forests and other wooded land"). Arable and permanent crop land is defined as the sum of arable area and land under permanent crops. Permanent meadows and pastures refer to land used for five years or more to grow herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land). Forest refers to land spanning more than 0.5 hectare (0.005 km2) and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. This includes land from which forests have been cleared but that will be reforested in the foreseeable future. This excludes woodland or forest predominantly under agricultural or urban land use and used only for recreation purposes. Other areas include built-up and related land, wet open land, and dry open land, with or without vegetation cover. Areas under inland water bodies (rivers and lakes) are excluded. The definitions used in different countries may show variations.
Historical versions of this dataset since 25 August 2014 are available.
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