The group has a long track record in developing world leading land change models and ecosystem service maps. Insight in spatial distribution and the ability to project future changes is a tool to synthesize our understanding of the land system and initiate discussions about the spatial diversity and potential futures of land use and ecosystem services.

Mapping of changes in landscape and ecosystem services includes characterization of the land surface beyond land cover only. We also focus on including, for example, land use intensity or density of small linear elements. Based on existing and developed data layers we are a leading group in modelling land use change. The group’s staff developed the CLUE-s land use change model and the CLUMondo land system change model, that are widely used for modelling land use change across the world. At finer scales we apply agent based modelling to simulate the impact of decision making on land use change. Within the ERC project GLOLAND we improve global scale land change modelling by explicitly accounting for human agency.

The Environmental Geography group has developed approaches for mapping ecosystem services at mostly the European scale. These approaches are commonly “intermediate complexity” methods, where results of detailed process based modelling are upscaled to larger regions based on land use, topography, and biophysical landscape characteristics. We map both supply of ecosystem services by the landscape, as well as societies demand for services. Modelling tools and outputs are applied in various European and national scale consultancies.

Modelling tools can be found here.

Selected key publications: