Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Change
The decade since the initiation of the Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) project in 1995 (see Chap. 1) has witnessed considerable advances in the field of modeling of land-use/cover change. The science plan of the project indicated that the major task would be the development of a new generation of land-use/cover change models capable of simulating the major socioeconomic and biophysical driving forces of land-use and land-cover change. In addition, these models were supposed to be able to handle interactions at several spatial and temporal scales. Recent publications indicate that the LUCC science community has successfully met this challenge and a wide range of advanced models, aiming at different scales and research questions, is now available (Briassoulis 2000; Agarwal et al. 2001; Veldkamp and Lambin 2001; Parker et al. 2003; Nagendra et al. 2004; Veldkamp and Verburg 2004; Verburg et al. 2004b; Verburg and Veldkamp 2005). One of the most important observations that can be made examining the range of available land-use/ cover change models is the wide variety of approaches and concepts underlying the models. This chapter intends to describe the variety of modeling approaches, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and indicate the remaining challenges for the land-use science community. Not being able to discuss all individual models and approaches, we will focus on broad distinctions between approaches and discuss how modelers have dealt with a number of important aspects of the functioning of the landuse system. A land-use system is understood here as a type of land use with interrelated determining factors with strong functional relations with each other (see Fig. 1.2). These factors include a wide range of land-use influencing factors than can be biophysical, economic, social, cultural, political, or institutional. The discussion of modeling approaches in this chapter is illustrated with examples of models and results from selected research projects.
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