Scotland seen by satellites

1 November 2017 by Tamera Jones

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has used the latest satellite technology to launch new digital maps showing the differences of the UK countryside. The maps show the UK's most built-up, most wooded and most farmed counties. It ranges from the arable heartlands of East Anglia to the grassy expanses of Wales and Cumbria and the uplands of Scotland.

Unsurprisingly, across the UK, Scotland has the most coniferous woodland by percentage, with 12 Scottish counties at the top of the list. Scotland also has the counties with the most moorland grass, heather, bog and inland rock. In these categories, Scotland has all the top 10 counties, except for just two: bog and moorland grass.

The Land Cover Map 2015 is the most rigorous and up-to-date digital land cover map to chart the face of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's rural and urban landscapes.

Dr Clare Rowland of CEH said:

The map is already being used by environmental consultancies, national park authorities, government departments, public bodies and rivers trusts, as well as universities.

In honour of this Scottish issue of Planet Earth we've picked out a few facts from around the country.

Infographic 1

Text description of infographic 1

Top three counties most densely built-up

  1. City of Glasgow = 71.3%
  2. City of Dundee = 65.2%
  3. City of Edinburgh = 38.5%

...and the least built-up:

Sutherland = 0.1%

Infographic 2

Text description of infographic 2

Top three counties least urban area

  1. Nairn = 5km2
  2. Tweeddale = 8km2
  3. Sutherland = 9km2

...and the most urban area:

Lanarkshire = 180km2

Infographic 3

Text description of infographic 3

Top three counties most coniferous woodland

  1. Moray = 31.2%
  2. The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright = 28%
  3. Argyll and Bute = 23.4%

...and the least coniferous:

Shetland = 0%

Infographic 4

Text description of infographic 4

Top three counties most broadleaved woodland

  1. Dunbartonshire = 11.3%
  2. Clackmannanshire = 10.4%
  3. West Lothian = 10.2%

...and the least broadleaved:

Shetland = 0%

Infographic 5

Text description of infographic 5

Top three counties most arable land cover

  1. Aberdeenshire = 1,158km2
  2. Angus = 752km2
  3. Perth and Kinross = 666km2

...and the least arable land

Shetland = 0.1km2

Infographic 6

Text description of infographic 6

Top three counties most grassland

  1. Tweeddale = 61.1%
  2. Dumfries = 58.5%
  3. Lanarkshire = 56.3%

...and the least grassland:

City of Dundee = 7.9%

You can see the full maps, showing all parts of the UK, on the CEH website - external link.