The book presents recent estimates of the rates in changes of major land classes such as forest, cropland and pasture. Among the causative mechanisms behind land change, synergetic factor combinations are found to be more common than single key factor explanations. Aggregated globally, multiple impacts of local land changes are shown to significantly affect central aspects of Earth System functioning. Innovative developments and applications in the fields of modeling and scenario construction are presented. Finally, conclusions are drawn about the most pressing implications for the design of appropriate intervention policies, and on new directions and frontiers of research.
The edited book synthesizes research achievements by dozens of scientists related to the Land-Use/Cover Change (LUCC) project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). It summarizes relevant findings on global land-use change which arose from value-adding activities of the LUCC project, starting in 1995 and extending until its termination in October 2005. The main intention is to describe how human modification of land cover became a major driving force of Earth System changes over the past 300 years, a period of most rapid transformations, with fundamental implications for current landscape configurations. In writing this book, current knowledge and understanding is reported on the rates, causes/pathways, impacts, future scenarios/models, policy implications and new research directions in the field of land-use/cover change.
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