Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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2.2.5. Land Cover, Land Use, and Agriculture-Related Definitions

This section examines existing national and international definitions of land and agriculture-related terms that are related to the Kyoto Protocol, especially Article 3.4.

2.2.5.1. Land

Land is internationally defined as "a delineable area of the earth's terrestrial surface, encompassing all attributes of the biosphere immediately above or below this surface, including those of the near-surface climate, the soils and the terrain forms, the surface hydrology (including shallow lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps), the near-surface sedimentary layers and associated groundwater reserve, the plant and animal populations, the human settlement pattern and physical results of past and present human activity" (UN, 1994; CSD, 1996). Terrain forms that occur in a mosaic pattern are termed landscapes (similar terms are land system units, landscape-ecological units, or unitÚs de terroir), which in turn constitute the building blocks of a watershed (catchment area) or a phytogeographic unit (biome).

2.2.5.2. Agricultural Lands

Although "agricultural land" is not mentioned in the Protocol, its definition is relevant to Article 3.4, which speaks of agricultural soils. In its narrowest sense, agricultural land is land that is arable and regularly tilled for the production of annual field crops, with or without irrigation. The word agriculture refers to a broad class of resource uses that includes all forms of land use for the production of biotic crops, whether animal or plants. In its broadest sense, agricultural land includes all land that provides direct benefits for mankind through the production of food, fiber, forage and fodder, biofuel, meat, hides, and skins, as well as timber. Only deserts; barren land; non-managed wetland, woodlands, and forests; and built-up areas are excluded. All categories included in the World Agricultural Census (FAO, 1995c) (summarized in Table 2-1) are included.



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