The delineation of Riparian Zones is based on a complex spatial modelling approach, making use of the Riparian Zones’ LC/LU classification, large-scale earth observation data and a range of additional geo-data sources, as well as derived spatially explicit indicators. Inputs are regionally parameterised and weighted according to relative importance in a fuzzy modelling approach.
The Potential Riparian Zone is the resultant modelled area along both sides of the large and medium-sized European rivers and their major branches, with a high probability to host riparian features. It constitutes an integral part of the buffer zone used for land cover / land use and GLE mapping and typically describes the maximum potential extent of riparian zones without anthropogenic influence.
The Actual Riparian Zone is a combination of the Potential Riparian Zone and the recent actual extent of riparian features (such as semi-natural riparian vegetation, oxbow lakes, riverbanks, etc.) as observed from earth observation data. It encompasses the area with the highest probability to find recent riparian features on the ground.