Environmental layers: ITE Land Class

The Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE) originally classified the 1 km squares in Great Britain into 32 land classes, as a basis for ecological survey. The classes have been used in biogeographical studies of the distribution of individual species and species assemblages. The concept behind the technique is that there is an association between the environmental character of land and ecological parameters. The initial classification was based on a TWINSPAN analysis of environmental characteristics of a sample of squares drawn from a regular grid. Subsequently the availability of more powerful computers and the need to improve geographical definition have led to the allocation of every 1 km square to its appropriate class. The most recent version increased the number of classes to 40.
The ITE LandClass is freely available data and was obtained from Countryside Information System.
Another product derived from this is a measure of the diversity of the countryside. This was obtained by staring with each 1km square and considering an area around it obtained by including its adjoining squares and continuing to add neighbouring squares to 2, 3, etc. steps outward. The number of squares of each represented land class in this neighbourhood was counted and a Shanon-Weiner Diversity Index calculated from the result. This seems to satisfactorily express the diversity of the landscape.
ITE Land Class