Consulting on land cover classes and definitions

May 31st, 2016, Published in Articles: PositionIT

 

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) recently held a consultative workshop in Pretoria on the draft National Land Cover Class and Definitions Standard. The workshop was part of a series of seven nationwide workshops held during May 2016 by the department to gather input and comments from members of the geo-information community.

Bulelwa Semoli, Luncedo Ngcofe and Mimi Chauke

Bulelwa Semoli, Luncedo Ngcofe and Mimi Chauke.

Bulelewa Semoli (DRDLR) explained that land cover data is essential for national and international reporting mandates and provided details on previous South African land cover products.  She said that the objective of the workshop was to provide a national framework on land cover classes and definitions in order to achieve standardisation and harmonisation on land cover data within South Africa.

The task team leader, Luncedo Ngcofe, took the workshop participants through the draft National Standard on Land Cover Classes and Definitions. The draft standard provides details on nine different classes of land use – forestland, schrubland, grassland, waterbodies, wetlands, barrenland, cultivated, built-up, and mine and quarries. As the workshop proceeded, participants provided comments on the classes, the four sub-levels and the applicable definitions.

During this process, participants were reminded by Mark Thompson (GTI) to be mindful of the difference between land cover and land use, and to ascertain whether they are providers or users of the land cover data under discussion.

At the end of the workshop, Ngcofe advised that all the input had been captured. He said these would be assessed and feedback provided to the relevant parties. Where problematic areas were identified, responsible parties were requested to submit updated information to the task team leader. National departments were encouraged to participate in the process now and not after the standard has been formalised.

Siyabonga Mdubeki, deputy chairperson of the Committee for Spatial Information, thanked the participants for their serious interrogation of the classes, saying that it was essential that the land cover terminology be commonly understood.

The task team established through the SA-GEO Land Cover Community of Practice was thanked for their extensive contribution towards developing this framework: Luncedo Ngcofe, Bulelwa Semoli, and Patricia Duncan (DRDLR); Anneliza Collette and Tom Vorster (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries); Nicolene Fourie and Marlanie Moodley (Department of Environmental Affairs), Konrad Wessel and Karen Steenkamp (CSIR – Mereka Institute); and Mark Thompson (GTI).

Once the consultative process is finalised, the collated inputs will be submitted to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform for approval according to the SDI Act No. 54 of 2003. Following this process, the proposed standard will be submitted to the South African Bureau of Standards.

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