Climatic Change

, Volume 80, Issue 3–4, pp 239–251 | Cite as

Land use and land cover tools for climate adaptation

Original Article


Land use and land cover interact with atmospheric conditions to determine current climate conditions, as well, as the impact of climate change and environmental variability on ecological systems. Such interactions are ubiquitous, yet changes in LULC are generally made without regard to their biophysical implications. This review considers the potential for LULC to compound, confound, or even contradict changes expected from climate change alone. These properties give LULC the potential to be used as powerful tools capable of modifying local climate and contributing significantly to the net impact of climate change. Management practices based modifications of LULC patterns and processes could be applied strategically to increase the resilience of vulnerable ecological systems and facilitate climate adaptation. These interventions build on the traditional competencies of land management and land protection organizations and suggest that these institutions have a central role in determining the ecological impact of climate change and the development of strategies for adaptation. The practical limits to the use of LULC-based tools also suggest important inflection points between manageable and dangerous levels of climate change.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for Ecological Analysis and SynthesisSanta BarbaraUSA

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