Keywords

land use change, integrated modelling, land use modelling, comparative analysis, forecasting, europe

Start Date

1-7-2012 12:00 AM

Description

Over the past years several studies have explored future land use trends for Europe. This paper presents a comparison of six land use studies for Europe that explore land use changes until 2020/2030. We compared these studies with respect to qualitative as well as quantitative aspects. The qualitative analysis shows that many studies focus on agricultural land uses and therefore draw on detailed agricultural models, while only few include urban developments. The purpose of about half of the studies is to provide land use outlooks, while the other half used scenarios to test the behaviour of scientific models or show their potential applicability. For the quantitative comparison we considered the results of their reference and alternative scenarios. This comparison shows that there is a large difference between the projected results provided by the different outlooks. We even found that alternative scenario outcomes within a single outlook study are more similar than the results of reference scenarios between outlook studies. To a large extent this can be traced back to the differences in initial data sources, data pre-processing and model assumptions. To exclude the impact of differences in initial data, also relative changes were computed. Results from this analysis show a large range of values, which indicates a large uncertainty in the results of land use outlooks. We suggest using all results as the plausibility space for future land use changes. Many studies have kept the values of drivers within a rather limited range, while in reality larger shocks may well be possible.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Exploring land use trends in Europe: a comparison of forecasting approaches and results

Over the past years several studies have explored future land use trends for Europe. This paper presents a comparison of six land use studies for Europe that explore land use changes until 2020/2030. We compared these studies with respect to qualitative as well as quantitative aspects. The qualitative analysis shows that many studies focus on agricultural land uses and therefore draw on detailed agricultural models, while only few include urban developments. The purpose of about half of the studies is to provide land use outlooks, while the other half used scenarios to test the behaviour of scientific models or show their potential applicability. For the quantitative comparison we considered the results of their reference and alternative scenarios. This comparison shows that there is a large difference between the projected results provided by the different outlooks. We even found that alternative scenario outcomes within a single outlook study are more similar than the results of reference scenarios between outlook studies. To a large extent this can be traced back to the differences in initial data sources, data pre-processing and model assumptions. To exclude the impact of differences in initial data, also relative changes were computed. Results from this analysis show a large range of values, which indicates a large uncertainty in the results of land use outlooks. We suggest using all results as the plausibility space for future land use changes. Many studies have kept the values of drivers within a rather limited range, while in reality larger shocks may well be possible.