Landscape Ecology

, 24:1167 | Cite as

Combining top-down and bottom-up dynamics in land use modeling: exploring the future of abandoned farmlands in Europe with the Dyna-CLUE model

  • Peter H. VerburgEmail author
  • Koen P. Overmars
Research Article


Land use change is the result of interactions between processes operating at different scales. Simulation models at regional to global scales are often incapable of including locally determined processes of land use change. This paper introduces a modeling approach that integrates demand-driven changes in land area with locally determined conversion processes. The model is illustrated with an application for European land use. Interactions between changing demands for agricultural land and vegetation processes leading to the re-growth of (semi-) natural vegetation on abandoned farmland are explicitly addressed. Succession of natural vegetation is simulated based on the spatial variation in biophysical and management related conditions, while the dynamics of the agricultural area are determined by a global multi-sector model. The results allow an exploration of the future dynamics of European land use and landscapes. The model approach is similarly suitable for other regions and processes where large scale processes interact with local dynamics.


Land use Land cover Europe Land abandonment Land marginalization Succession Model 



The research presented in this paper is partly funded by the EURURALIS project financed by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the FP6 SENSOR integrated project financed by the European Commission. Igor Staritsky and Martha Bakker are acknowledged for their contributions to the discussions and calculations. Bob Bunce is thanked for providing an expert-table of succession periods across the different environmental zones of Europe.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Land Dynamics GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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