Numerous systems of land classification have been proposed. Most have led directly to or have been driven by an author's philosophy of earth-forming processes. However, the practical need of classifying land for planning and management purposes requires that a system lead to predictions of the results of management activities. We propose a landscape classification system composed of 11 units, from realm (a continental mass) to feature (a splash impression). The classification concerns physical aspects rather than economic or social factors; and aims to merge land inventory with dynamic processes. Landscape units are organized using a hierarchical system so that information may be assembled and communicated at different levels of scale and abstraction. Our classification uses a geomorphic systems approach that emphasizes the geologic-geomorphic attributes of the units. Realm, major division, province, and section are formulated by subdividing large units into smaller ones. For the larger units we have followed Fenneman's delineations, which are well established in the North American literature. Areas and districts are aggregated into regions and regions into sections. Units smaller than areas have, in practice, been subdivided into zones and smaller units if required. We developed the theoretical framework embodied in this classification from practical applications aimed at land use planning and land management in Maryland (eastern Piedmont Province near Baltimore) and Utah (eastern Uinta Mountains). ?? 1991 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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Landscape analysis: Theoretical considerations and practical needs