Land use plays a vital role in the earth system: it links human decision-making to the terrestrial environment and is both driver and target of global environmental changes. However, decisions about how much land to use where and for what purpose (and the related consequences) are still poorly understood. This deficit is in contrast to the fundamental need for global analysis of future land-use change to answer pressing questions concerning, e.g. future food security, biodiversity and climate mitigation and adaptation.
Geographic models focus on the development of spatial patterns of land-use types by analyzing land suitability and spatial interaction. Beyond, they add information about fundamental constraints on the supply side. Economic models focus on drivers of land-use change on the demand side, starting out from certain preferences, motivations, market and population structures and aim to explain changes in land-intensive sectors. Integrated models seek to combine the strengths of both approaches in order to make up for their intrinsic deficits and to assess the feedbacks between terrestrial environment and the global economy.
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