This paper presents a conceptual model of land as a coupled human–environment system. Land use and land cover are incorporated as elements of the human and environment system respectively. Drivers and associated processes that influence land use, land cover, and land system dynamics are incorporated within a set of sub-systems. The model includes consideration of driving sub-systems as a set of capital funds and flows, and how these are influenced by linkages between processes in the human (socio-economic) and environment systems and sub-systems. The model is consistent with existing models of the biophysical earth system used by the land change, earth system sciences, and socio-ecological systems communities. The purposes of the model are to provide (i) a holistic framework within which descriptions, models and analyses that focus on various components of land can be placed to describe and explain land systems and land system changes; and (ii) a guide for the development of more fully integrated and interdisciplinary understanding, analysis and study of land use and land cover dynamics, with explicit focus on relationships between human and natural systems.
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