Cultivated terrestrial vegetated: herbaceous includes herbaceous vegetation (e.g. crops, grasses and shrubs) that are planted, cultivated and/or require human activities to maintain it (e.g. tillage, harvest, irrigation, grazing).
Decreases in cultivated herbaceous vegetation cover are likely driven by changes to intensive agricultural practices with a shift towards improved land management practices (including grazing), nature conservation and managed resource protection. Changes in agricultural practices have most likely resulted in a transition to natural herbaceous vegetation cover i.e. allowing the land to return to native vegetation.
Points of interest over the time series include:
- In 1992, cultivated terrestrial vegetation was at its highest level (13.9% of total land, 106.9 million ha) and recorded its lowest level in 2008 (4.4% of total land, 33.7 million ha).
- From 1988 to 2020, the area covered by cultivated herbaceous vegetation decreased an average of 1.8 million ha per year.
- The years 2015 to 2019 contained four of the five lowest stock positions in the time series (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) but 2020 saw a 31.6% (51.5 million ha) increase. This increase was driven by transitions from natural terrestrial herbaceous (7.9 million ha) and natural surfaces (6.0 million ha). The increase was offset by 1.6 million ha of cultivated terrestrial herbaceous vegetation transitioning into terrestrial woody cover.