Automated method for identification and characterization of landscape units


  • J. Alcántara-Manzanares Departamento de Didáctica de las Ciencias Sociales y Experimentales. Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Córdoba.
  • J.M. Muñoz-Álvarez Universidad de Córdoba



landscape classification, multivariate analysis, Twinspan, geographic information systems (GIS), Huelva (Andalucía).


Within the framework of a study aimed at classifying the landscape of Huelva province (Andalusia, Spain) using an objective, reproducible and scalable method of identifying and characterising landscape units, we examined the value of this method for the detailed classification of one such landscape unit –designated Campiñas– with a surface area of 1086 km2. The method in question combined tools used in geographical information systems (GIS), multivariate analysis using the TWINSPAN classification (two-way indicator species analysis) and DCA ordination analysis (detrended correspondence analysis). The variables used were land use and plant cover, municipalities, and slope. The results obtained were validated by discriminant analysis and subjected to plot-level debugging.

Three different landscape units were identified within the Campiñas type; these were delimited cartographically, and the distinctive diagnostic variables of each unit were identified. Most indicator variables were linked to land use, while the slope variable was of no significant value for differentiation purposes. Graphic ordination analysis revealed landscape-unit characteristics that could not be deduced from TWINSPAN analysis, and were thus supplementary to the information provided by that analysis. The results of discriminant analysis confirmed validation of the classification. The variables used were justified, and the method employed was compared to other


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Author Biographies

J. Alcántara-Manzanares, Departamento de Didáctica de las Ciencias Sociales y Experimentales. Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Córdoba.


J.M. Muñoz-Álvarez, Universidad de Córdoba

Profesor Titular del Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal


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How to Cite

Alcántara-Manzanares J, Muñoz-Álvarez J. Automated method for identification and characterization of landscape units. CIG [Internet]. 2015 Mar. 17 [cited 2023 Mar. 23];41(1):205-30. Available from: