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Land Use and Population Density in the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin: A GIS Database

31 May 1996

We present a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of the large-scale drainage basin of the Baltic Sea. A set of GIS map layers were created and used to generate information on the current landscape characteristics and population distribution patterns in the drainage basin. Such data can be generated at the 92 mesoscale subdrainage basins, at the seven major subdrainage basins, and at the drainage basin as a whole, as well as by nations. Forests dominate in the drainage basin (48% coverage), followed by arable land (20% ), and non-productive open lands (17%). Sweden and Finland contain 60 percent of total forest land, while most of the drainage basin's agricultural land is located in Poland. Wetlands cover roughly eight percent of the drainage basin. Of the 85 million people living in the Baltic Sea drainage basin, the vast majority (64%) live in the drainage areas of the Baltic Proper. Forty-five percent of people in the drainage basin live in Poland. About 22 million people (26%) live within metropolitan areas, 45 percent in towns or small cities, and 29 percent are rural. Nearly 15 million people live within a 10 km distance from the Baltic coast. Expanding to a 50 km distance from the coastline, we find 43% of the total populated area and 31% of the total population.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: Julie Sweitzer, Sindre Langaas, Carl Folke

Year of publication: 1996

Publisher: AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment

Place of publication: Sweden and Norway

Tags: Baltic Sea land use

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