Land Use Change and Ecosystems


Course Objective

To achieve a high level of understanding of global change processes
related to terrestrial ecosystems and human land use. Objectives of this
course include:
-being able to conceptualize the role of land use both as driver and as
impact of global environmental change;
-achieve understanding of human-environment interactions and feedbacks
between ecological, physical and social (including economic) processes;
-become familiar with research methods to study land use change and
ecosystem dynamics, including the analysis of driving factors, the
simulation of land use dynamics, biodiversity impacts and the assessment
of human-environment interactions through global value chains;
-becoming able to match interdisciplinary research questions with
appropriate scientific tools, simulation models and other methods;
-understand potential options and policies for sustainable land use.

Course Content

Land use is key to sustainability. Achieving sufficient food, mitigating
climate change and conserving biodiversity all require land, so
competing claims on land emerge.
In the first part students will be trained in understanding the extent,
the driving factors and the impacts of land use change. We combine
global and local perspectives in studying land use changes and impacts
of such changes on ecosystems. In the second part of the course the
students will be presented with a portfolio of research methods,
theoretical models and simulation models to analyze dynamics of land
use. Practicals and computer exercises will provide a hands-on
experience with these methods. Methods and models discussed will
originate from different disciplines and include economic models,
spatial land use models, and participatory approaches. During practicals
and assignments students will match research questions with appropriate
(combinations) of methods. In the third part of the course transitions
to sustainable land use will be discussed and the different pathways to
achieving sustainable land use are introduced.Both global perspectives,
governance aspects as well as implementation at the local level (i.e.
sustainable intensification of agriculture) will be discussed.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, Practical (computer) exercises. Self-study, including
literature study, group and individual assignments.

Method of Assessment

Written exam (60%) and practical and assignment results (40%).


Selected articles and practical instructions will be made available on

Target Audience

-Master students with an interest in sustainable development and
interdisciplinary science (with some background on quantitative analysis
and preferably GIS)
-First year students of MSc Earth Sciences, specialization Global
Environmental Change and Policy who meet the above entry requirements.

Recommended background knowledge

Basic knowledge of GIS is recommended.

General Information

Course Code AM_1235
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. ir. P.H. Verburg
Examiner prof. dr. ir. P.H. Verburg
Teaching Staff prof. dr. ir. P.H. Verburg
dr. A.J.A. van Teeffelen
dr. J. Dell'Angelo
dr. ir. O.J. Kuik
dr. M.J. Koetse

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Computer lab, Lecture
Target audiences

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