Methodology for the evaluation of land use and land use changes in continental Portugal over the last three decades

  • Bruno Meneses Direcção-Geral do Território
  • Maria José Vale
  • Rui Reis
  • Raquel Saraiva
Keywords: land use and occupation, LULC estimate, geographic information, GIS



In last decades Portugal has undergone major changes in land use and land cover (LULC). However, these changes have not been quantified for years before 1985, which is a innovative test in this perspective, that presents an estimate of the changes between 1980 and 2010 on a continental scale, based on samples of LULC.

The LULC used information in these assessments resulted from a combination of different methodologies, from the selection of aerial photographs, georeferencing, vectorization of LULC, to extrapolate to Portugal Continental. The present paper presents these methods and varations of LULC estimated at three times (decades of 1980/95, 1995/2010 and 1980/2010). The results highlight the occupation of forest and agricultural land at the three times, demonstrating the increase over time of the second type, due to the detriment of the losses occurring in the first type.