Anthropogenic Biomes of the World
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Dense Settlements

Dense Settlements

Dense Settlements are the second most densely populated regions of the world.  Dense settlements are highly heterogeneous with regards to population density and tree cover.  No consistent pattern of climate amongst areas designated as dense settlements could be determined.  The total lack of variety in land use within dense settlements points towards their use as strictly residential districts. 

Population density never falls below 100 persons/km even in the non-urban parts of the dense settlements anthrome which suggests that these areas consist of both the sprawling edges of major cities in underdeveloped nations, and the long standing small towns throughout western Europe and Asia.  The constituent ecoregions of this anthrome support that same idea, four of the top five ecoregions are in Asia, primarily China, and the other is on the western coast of Europe to include Great Britain. 


Median* Min Max
Mean Annual Temperature 16.3 °C -9.1 °C 30.4 °C
Mean Annual Precipitation 1051
7107 mm/yr
Net Primary Production Global Total Median Min Max
1015g C/yr (%) kg C/m2/yr
0.5 (1%)
0.5 0 2.14


Global Total Median Min Max
billion persons (%) persons/km2
Total 0.7 (11%)
710 183  7,078 
Non-Urban 0.28 (8.5%)
333 100 1985

Land Use & Land Cover


Global Total
Median Min Max
million km2 (%) (cover %)
Total Land Area 0.9 (0.7%) N/A
Urban 0.08 (15.1%) 8.7% 0.0% 17.5%
Cultivated 0.3 (2.0%) 0.0% 0.0% 100%
Irrigated 0.07 (2.6%) 0.8% 0.0% 74%
Rice Paddy 0.05 (2.9%) 0.0% 0.0% 46.7%
Pasture 0.07(0.2%) 0.0% 0.0% 100%
Tree Cover 0.13 (0.5%) 10.7% 0.0% 63.7%
Bare Earth  0.04(0.1%) 1.87% 0.0% 38.5%
*Median, Minimum and Maximum estimates were calculated after removing the top and bottom 2% of cells in each anthrome based on the Euclidean distance across the means of variables used for anthrome classification.

Major Ecoregions (Olson)

% cover
Huang He Plain mixed forests 7.8
Jian Nan subtropical evergreen forests 3.6
Changjiang Plain evergreen forests 3.4
South China-Vietnam subtropical evergreen forests 3.0
Atlantic mixed forests 2.5
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Photo: David Shankbone, March 2008,  GNU Free Documentation license,

Created by:

Andrew Petit de Mange & Kelly Kennedy

Based on: Anthropogenic Biomes of the World

Ellis, E. C. and N. Ramankutty. 2008. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(8):439-447 doi:10.1890/070062. [download]