It is widely known that thematic resolution affects spatial pattern and landscape metrics performances. In literature, data dealing with this issue usually refer to a specific class scheme with its thematic levels. In this paper, the effects of different land cover (LC) and habitat classification schemes on the spatial pattern of a coastal landscape were compared. One of the largest components of the Mediterranean wetland system was considered as the study site, and different schemes widely used in the EU were selected and harmonized with a common thematic resolution, suitable for habitat discrimination and monitoring. For each scheme, a thematic map was produced and, for each map, 28 landscape metrics were calculated. The landscape composition, already in terms of number of classes, class area, and number of patches, changes significantly among different classification schemes. Landscape complexity varies according to the class scheme considered and its underlying semantics, depending on how the different types aggregate or split when changing class scheme. Results confirm that the selection of a specific class scheme affects the spatial pattern of the derived landscapes and consequently the landscape metrics, especially at class level. Moreover, among the classification schemes considered, EUNIS seems to be the best choice for a comprehensive representation of both natural and anthropogenic classes.
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