The aim of this study was to develop an efficient and accurate procedure for classifying Mediterranean land cover with remotely sensed data. Combinations of artificial neural networks (ANN) and texture analysis on a per-field basis were used to classify a Landsat Thematic Mapper image of the Cukurova Deltas, Turkey, into eight land cover classes. This study integrated spectral information with measures of texture, in the form of the variance and the variogram. The accuracy of the ANN was greater than that of maximum likelihood (ML) when using spectral data alone and when using spectral and textural data. The use of texture measures through the per-pixel and per-field majority rule approaches were found to reduce classification accuracy because the held boundaries were enlarged and so overwhelmed the measures of texture. In contrast, the per-held approach (where the field was specified prior to analysis) combined with texture information increased significantly classification accuracy. However, the accuracy decreased as the variogram lag increased. The accuracy with which land cover could be classified in this region was maximised at 89% by using a per-held, ANN approach in which semivariance at a lag of 1 pixel was incorporated as textural information. This is 15% greater than the accuracy achieved using a standard per-pixel ML classification. The primary limitation of the use of the per-held approach was noted to be the need for prior knowledge of field boundaries which may be resolved using existing data or through some form of edge-detection routine. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.