Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 27 June 2024 | Viewed by 9476

Special Issue Editors

York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, University of York, York Y010 5NG, UK
Interests: tropical ecology; conservation; palaeoclimate; palaeoecology; fire ecology; modelling; management; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9AL, UK
Interests: participatory scenario planning; systematic reviews; participatory rural appraisal; appreciative inquiry; space-for-time substitution; ethnographies; managing large open source spatial-temporal datasets; social-ecological systems; global environmental change; climate impacts assessment, ecology and adaptation; ecosystem services; land-use planning; functional diversity; food security; agro-ecology; decision-making under uncertainty; indigenous ecological knowledge; urban disaster resilience; mountain systems
Dr. Rebecca Kariuki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Interests: biodiversity conservation; climate change; environmental history; land systems; savanna ecology; scenario analysis; social-ecological systems; spatial modelling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scenarios of land use and land cover change are shaped by complex interactions across biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance factors operating at multiple spatial-temporal scales. These interactions feed back to the climate system affecting nature, people, and development. Although there is a considerable effort in understanding the nature, processes, and consequences of land use and land cover change, uncertainty persists in understanding future changes informed by perceptions of futures elicited using participatory approaches. Land use scenario analysis is a promising approach to generating diverse visions of potential and desired future land use trajectories that resonate with international, national, and local planning agendas. This Special Issue aims to collate contributions on recent advances in the application of land use scenario tools in exploring future land use and land cover change trajectories at different scales and foci with innovative and transformative adaptation pathways. Potential topics include but are not limited to drivers and impacts of land use and land cover amongst other drivers of change; interactions between developmental and environmental processes; participatory approaches to land use land cover change analysis; interactions between institutions, technologies, and cultural practices; and identification of barriers and contingency factors that enable or hinder the acceptance and adoption of scenario findings—making scenarios work.

It should be noted that waivers or partial waivers of the publication fees will be available to high quality, well-written papers.

Prof. Dr. Rob Marchant
Dr. Jessica Thorn
Dr. Rebecca Kariuki
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • land use land cover change
  • scenario analysis
  • land use trajectory
  • stakeholders
  • diverse visions
  • multiple scales

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

26 pages, 6217 KiB  
Article
‘Kesho’ Scenario Development for Supporting Water-Energy Food Security under Future Conditions in Zanzibar
Land 2024, 13(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13020195 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Social-ecological interactions mediate water–energy–food security in small developing islands, but community-scale insights are underrepresented in nexus research. These interactions are dynamic in their response to environmental and anthropogenic pressures and need to be understood to inform sustainable land use planning into the future. [...] Read more.
Social-ecological interactions mediate water–energy–food security in small developing islands, but community-scale insights are underrepresented in nexus research. These interactions are dynamic in their response to environmental and anthropogenic pressures and need to be understood to inform sustainable land use planning into the future. This study centered on bringing together diverse stakeholders to explore water–energy–food futures using the “Kesho” (meaning “tomorrow” in Kiswahili) scenario tool for two of the largest islands that comprise the Zanzibar Archipelago. The methodology comprised four core stages: (1) exploration of how past drivers of change impacted water–energy–food security; (2) modeling of a Business as Usual Scenario for land cover change; (3) narrative development to describe alternative futures for 2030 based on themes developed at the community scale; and (4) predictions about how narratives would shape land cover and its implications for the nexus. These results were used to model alternate land cover scenarios in TerrSet IDRISI (v. 18.31) and produce visual representations of expected change. Findings demonstrated that deforestation, saltwater incursion, and a reduction in permanent waterbodies were projected by 2030 in a Business as Usual Scenario. Three alternative scenario narratives were developed, these included Adaptation, Ecosystem Management, and Settlement Planning. The results demonstrate that the effectiveness of actions under the scenario options differ between the islands, indicating the importance of understanding the suitability of national policies across considered scales. Synergies across the alternative scenario narratives also emerged, including integrated approaches for managing environmental change, community participation in decision making, effective protection of forests, cultural sensitivity to settlement planning, and poverty alleviation. These synergies could be used to plan strategic action towards effectively strengthening water–energy–food security in Zanzibar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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19 pages, 908 KiB  
Article
Key Drivers of Land Use Changes in the Rural Area of Gargano (South Italy) and Their Implications for the Local Sustainable Development
Land 2024, 13(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13020166 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 492
Abstract
This study examines the dynamics of land use and land cover change (LULCC) in the Gargano area (Southern Italy) to reveal crucial insights into the socio-economic and environmental impacts on its unique natural and cultural resources. This analysis was conducted using a mixed [...] Read more.
This study examines the dynamics of land use and land cover change (LULCC) in the Gargano area (Southern Italy) to reveal crucial insights into the socio-economic and environmental impacts on its unique natural and cultural resources. This analysis was conducted using a mixed approach of GIS data and expert interviews to investigate significant changes in the Gargano area, from 2000 to 2018, and their drivers. Artificial surfaces gained 22% of their original surfaces, while heterogeneous areas and pastures lost 25% and 78%, respectively. Urbanization and deforestation emerged as major concerns, reflecting heightened sensitivity to these transformative processes. Agricultural intensification and support policies were perceived as potential pressure sources on specific natural components. Conversely, these drivers counteracted land abandonment. Drivers such as education level and agricultural extensification were seen as levers for a more desirable land cover dynamic. Identified actions include providing targeted support for agriculture within environmental constraints, addressing land ownership fragmentation, supporting agricultural extensification, and promoting environmental awareness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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18 pages, 2843 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Land-Use Policies in Preventing the Risk of Coastal Flooding: Coastal Regions of Helsinki and Espoo
Land 2023, 12(8), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081631 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Effectively resolving environmental problems often involves not only technical solutions but also examining and potentially reforming the political and institutional frameworks that govern how societies relate to the environment. Coastal flooding due to rising sea levels, for example, poses a significant threat to [...] Read more.
Effectively resolving environmental problems often involves not only technical solutions but also examining and potentially reforming the political and institutional frameworks that govern how societies relate to the environment. Coastal flooding due to rising sea levels, for example, poses a significant threat to waterfront areas. Land-use regulations represent an effective means of mitigating this risk. Despite the multitude of strategies developed for tackling similar problems, relatively few have concentrated on assessing the effectiveness of land-use policies in managing such issues. This study examines a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use policies in preventing sea flood risks in the capital regions of Finland. While the focus of this research is on the coastal regions of the cities of Helsinki and Espoo, its implications extend internationally. By integrating Geographical Information System (GIS) and simulation tools, we simulate future land-use scenarios based on values that reflect the effects of land-use policies. This framework can be applied to other coastal regions worldwide facing similar challenges. Using land cover data and GeoSOS-FLUS software, land-use simulations of the target areas were generated. Land-use planning performance in the target areas exhibited positive changes, as fewer vulnerable land-use types were located within the sea flood risk zones in 2018 compared to 2000. This simulation also shows a strong similarity to actual land-use in 2018, confirming the framework’s reliability. This paper presents a novel framework for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use policies in mitigating coastal flooding risks, focusing on the coastal regions of Helsinki and Espoo, Finland. By integrating GIS and simulation tools, the research demonstrates the utility of these tools in tracking land-use changes and analyzing policy impacts, enabling a nuanced assessment of policy effectiveness. Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of local knowledge and a localized approach to policy development, contributing to a deeper understanding of complex issues in urban planning and land-use management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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19 pages, 1746 KiB  
Article
Do Land Use and Land Cover Scenarios Support More Integrated Land Use Management?
Land 2023, 12(7), 1414; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12071414 - 14 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1046
Abstract
In agricultural landscape management, the conventional top-down approaches that primarily focus on market-led responses struggle to preserve the landscape elements essential for environmental sustainability. To address this deficiency, land use and land cover change (LUCC) scenarios promote an integrated understanding of landscape dynamics [...] Read more.
In agricultural landscape management, the conventional top-down approaches that primarily focus on market-led responses struggle to preserve the landscape elements essential for environmental sustainability. To address this deficiency, land use and land cover change (LUCC) scenarios promote an integrated understanding of landscape dynamics and highlight the inconsistency between the compartmentalisation of the public sector (“siloisation”) and the necessity for management that reflects the interdependencies of socio-ecological systems. This study investigates the extent to which the creation and dissemination of LUCC scenarios lead to modifications in the values, attitudes, and behaviours of local actors engaged in land management, giving particular emphasis to the role of these scenarios in encouraging integrated management. To accomplish this objective, we interviewed local actors who actively participated in the co-construction of the scenario narratives or learned about the scenarios during dissemination workshops. We then analysed the data via a thematic and lexicometric analysis. The findings highlighted the dual function of these scenarios as a catalyst for pre-existing political will to promote integrated management and as a tool for raising awareness about major environmental challenges. At the group level, the outcomes encompassed aspects such as basing political decisions on the results of scenarios and fostering collaboration between institutions. These outcomes were observed among the actors involved in co-constructing scenarios or those with pre-existing motivations to pursue integrated management initiatives. Additional personal outcomes included an increased awareness of environmental challenges and the consolidation of non-formalised knowledge. We argue that combining co-construction and dissemination enhances the outcomes of scenarios considerably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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23 pages, 4287 KiB  
Article
Spatial Tools for Inclusive Landscape Governance: Negotiating Land Use, Land-Cover Change, and Future Landscape Scenarios in Two Multistakeholder Platforms in Zambia
Land 2023, 12(4), 804; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12040804 - 01 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Landscape approaches are being promoted as a form of negotiated governance to help reconcile competing land uses and identify common concerns for planning envisioned future landscapes. Multistakeholder platforms play a key role in these efforts. This paper aims to contribute to an emerging [...] Read more.
Landscape approaches are being promoted as a form of negotiated governance to help reconcile competing land uses and identify common concerns for planning envisioned future landscapes. Multistakeholder platforms play a key role in these efforts. This paper aims to contribute to an emerging scholarship that explores how spatial tools can be used in such platforms as boundary objects and if and how they can contribute to inclusive landscape negotiations and governance. We used spatial mapping to observe and document stakeholder perceptions about drivers of land-use and land-cover change and desired future scenarios that accommodate competing land uses. We found that land-cover maps derived from satellite images helped participants identify land-use change dynamics and drivers. The ensuing community mapping of desired landscape scenarios in both multistakeholder platforms (MSPs) triggered a process of identifying common concerns and defining actionable priorities. However, in one MSP, stakeholders ultimately reached a compromise on a draft land-use map that was widely regarded as an entry point for further negotiations in Local Area Plans, while the other lacked consensus due to deep-seated social-cultural issues, such as social-class-based disagreements. This paper illustrates, first, that instead of focusing on the end product (participatory maps), understanding negotiation processes helps uncover why spatial tools may fail to achieve the intended purpose of reconciling land uses. Second, spatial tools only work for landscape approaches if MSPs are inclusive and foster a collaborative process that considers the views of all participants. The authors recommend that those steering MSPs stimulate them to evolve from “mere consultation forums” to “innovative, participatory platforms”, encouraging stakeholders to engage in genuine negotiation processes that allow negotiated and alternative outcomes. We contend that such an approach, supported by spatial tools, is likely to contribute to the implementation of landscape approaches. Policymakers and land users can use these spatial tools as boundary objects in user-focused strategies that engender inclusive stakeholder participation and ensure legitimate, acceptable, and sustainable outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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29 pages, 7089 KiB  
Article
Using Scenario Building and Participatory Mapping to Negotiate Conservation-Development Trade-Offs in Northern Ghana
Land 2023, 12(3), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030580 - 28 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1598
Abstract
In multifunctional landscapes, expanding economic activities jeopardise the integrity of biodiverse ecosystems, generating conservation-development trade-offs that require multi-stakeholder dialogue and tools to negotiate conflicting objectives. Despite the rich literature on participatory mapping and other tools to reveal different stakeholder perspectives, there is limited [...] Read more.
In multifunctional landscapes, expanding economic activities jeopardise the integrity of biodiverse ecosystems, generating conservation-development trade-offs that require multi-stakeholder dialogue and tools to negotiate conflicting objectives. Despite the rich literature on participatory mapping and other tools to reveal different stakeholder perspectives, there is limited evidence on the application of such tools in landscape-scale negotiations. This paper addresses this gap by analysing a participatory mapping process in Ghana’s Western Wildlife Corridor, where a community-based landscape governance system called the community resource management area (CREMA) exists. Data from three participatory mapping workshops and focus group discussions with community and institutional actors reveal that increasing demand for food and natural resources and climate change impacts are drivers of landscape degradation, resulting in declining faunal and floral biodiversity and reduced ecosystem services. Meanwhile, community actors prioritise the expansion of farming land, while institutional actors prioritise forest conservation. However, scenario building and participatory mapping helped communicate each other’s aims and reach a negotiated consensus. Finally, power relations, cultural and traditional rules, and differences in knowledge affected deliberations and decision-making. We conclude that scenario building and participatory mapping can contribute to an inclusive landscape approach, provided that well-functioning multi-stakeholder platforms are in place and facilitators adequately navigate power imbalances and recognise different kinds and degrees of knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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20 pages, 5384 KiB  
Article
Consistent Changes in Land-Use/Land-Cover in Semi-Arid Areas: Implications on Ecosystem Service Delivery and Adaptation in the Limpopo Basin, Botswana
Land 2022, 11(11), 2057; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11112057 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1869
Abstract
Ecosystems in semi-arid areas remain essential to securing livelihoods and aiding climate change adaptation. However, land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) is the leading driver of biodiversity, ecosystem services, habitat, and ecosystem loss in most rural areas of developing countries. We evaluated LULCC in [...] Read more.
Ecosystems in semi-arid areas remain essential to securing livelihoods and aiding climate change adaptation. However, land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) is the leading driver of biodiversity, ecosystem services, habitat, and ecosystem loss in most rural areas of developing countries. We evaluated LULCC in the Bobirwa sub-district of Botswana between 1995 and 2015. We employed the supervised classification’s maximum likelihood algorithm on the 1995, 2005, and 2016 Landsat images to establish the implications of LULCC on the delivery of provisioning ecosystem services (ES) and ecosystem-based adaptation in the Limpopo Basin part of Botswana. Five major LULC classes—vegetation, cropland, bare land, built-up areas, and water bodies—were identified in the sub-district. The decline in vegetation by 50.67 km2/year between 1995 and 2016 was characterized by an increase in croplands (34.02 km2/year). These changes were attributed to the growing human population that induced farming households to expand croplands. Government programs also encouraged agricultural expansions by offering free inputs and compensating smallholder farmers for land preparation. Higher agricultural yields remained critically low while the loss of vegetated areas to croplands threatened biodiversity, habitats, and the sustainability of provisioning ES through impaired ecosystem functions. There is an urgent need to arrest all unnecessary agricultural expansions and enhance agricultural productivity from current land parcels. The government and other relevant stakeholders also need to strengthen the ecosystem management capacities of local communities and support them to develop and implement biodiversity-based village action plans. Engaging communities through participatory, biodiversity-based action planning promotes biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of ecosystem resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Scenarios of Land Use and Land Cover Change)
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