• land
  • A specified geographical tract of the Earth's surface including all its attributes, comprising its geology, superficial deposits, topography, hydrology, soils, flora and fauna, together with the results of past and present human activity, to the extent that these attributes exert a significant influence on the present and future land utilization.
Abstract from DBPedia
    Land or ground, also known as dry land, is the terrestrial surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. It makes up 29% of Earth's surface and includes the continents and a variety of small islands. The zone where land meets sea or lakes is known as the coast. Land is an important part of Earth's climate system and plays important roles in the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and water cycle. Though modern terrestrial plants and animals evolved from aquatic creatures, Earth's first cellular life likely originated on land. Several scientific disciplines study land, including geology and geography. One-third of land is covered in trees, 15% in crops, and a tenth in permanent snow and glaciers. Earth's land surface is almost entirely covered by regolith, a surface layer of rock, soil and minerals that forms the outer part of Earth's crust. The terrain varies greatly and consists of mountains, deserts, plains, plateaus, glaciers, and other landforms. In physical geology, land is divided into two major categories: relatively flat interiors called cratons, and mountain belts, which are formed over millions of years through plate tectonics. A major part of Earth's water cycle, streams shape the landscape, carve rocks, transport sediments, and replenish groundwater. At high elevations or latitudes, snow is compacted and recrystallized over hundreds or thousands of years to form glaciers, which can be so heavy that they warp the Earth's crust. About 30% of land has a dry climate, due to losing more water through evaporation than it gains from precipitation. Since warm air rises, this generates winds, though the Earth's rotation and uneven sun distribution also play a part. The zone where land meets sea or lakes is known as the coast. Various natural boundaries can mark this separation, whether cliffs, solid rock landforms, marshes, or swamps. Since coastlines often change with the tide, the coast's baseline is the legal demarcation used to determine exclusive economic zones; often, the low-water line is used as the baseline. Life on land depends on fresh water from rivers, streams, lakes, and glaciers, which constitute only 3% of the water on Earth. Prehistoric humans are thought to have settled near rivers; more recently, Neolithic civilizations were also concentrated near rivers for hydration and agriculture. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculture, habitat, and various natural resources. Today, 95% of the world's population lives on 10% of the land. Land use refers to the human allocation of land for various purposes, including farming, ranching, and recreation (e.g. national parks); one-third of land is used for agriculture. In recent decades, scientists and policymakers have emphasizes the need to manage land and its biosphere more sustainably, notably by restoring degraded soil, preserving biodiversity, protecting endangered species, and addressing climate change.



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