The research field of the Department Environmental Geography describes and explains the spatial aspects of interactions between humans and societies and their natural environment. Land use is the primary reflection of the interactions between humans and the natural environment. Land produces food, hosts biodiversity and provides ecosystem services for human well-being. At the same time, land is a scarce resource subject to many competing claims. Our research aims to contribute to the understanding, design and implementation of sustainable land use that navigates these competing claims and inherent tradeoffs.

The Environmental Geography department of the IVM develops and tests methods to better understand, model and communicate spatial dynamics of human‐environment systems with special emphasis on land systems and ecosystem services. We aim to contribute to the design of solutions to mitigate and adapt to global environmental change. Our studies range from local to global scales to address cross-scale dynamics and link global change to the local realities of stakeholders. We use a broad, interdisciplinary portfolio of methods including meta-analysis, land use and land system modelling, spatial analysis, scenarios studies, choice experiments and stakeholder workshops.

For more information see our Research themes, our List of publications or the IVM website. For downloads of the models we use and the data we produce please visit our models & data page.

The department is led by Prof. Peter H. Verburg.