AGCI research programme: Spatial Analysis and Resources Management

AGCI postdoc: Jasper van Vliet

Spatial analysis of global land use change processes at multiple and interdependent scales


This postdoc project aims to simulate global land use changes by including agents at multiple spatial scales in global land use change models. This will improve our understanding of land use change processes and particularly the interdependency between changes in developed and developing regions that are linked through global teleconnections. This understanding can improve the scientific basis for policy initiatives that aim to mitigate global change such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) and allow assessment of their tradeoffs and indirect effects at different spatial scales.

Changes in land and resource use are both a cause and effect of global change. Spatial variation in changes of land use systems and natural resource use are the result of dynamics within socio-ecological systems operating across different scales. Global scale integrated assessment models and macro-economic models normally use larger, homogeneous, units for analysis. This approach largely neglects the importance of local spatial interactions and of global teleconnections. An example relates to the impacts of cultivating crops for biofuels. While this might be beneficial for local decision makers (farmers), it can have negative consequences on a global scale as the increased demand for land could lead to accelerated deforestation.

Short CV

Jasper van Vliet is a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam global Change Institute (AGCI) where he works at the department of spatial analysis and decision support and the department of spatial economics. He is also involved as a secretary of the Global Land Project (GLP). He graduated as an agricultural engineer and as a Master of Science in Geo-Information Science from Wageningen University. His PhD research focused on the calibration and validation of spatial explicit land use change models. The results of this research aimed to improve the quality and credibility of land use change models, particularly in the case where they are used as policy support systems.

Previously Jasper worked as a researcher and consultant for the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems bv, where he developed and applied land use change models and trained professionals and scientists in the use of these models. Because land use changes are driven by biophysical as well as socioeconomic drivers, these land use change models are typically applied as larger integrated systems. Consequently he worked in a number of interdisciplinary projects, including three research projects within the 6th framework program of the EU (LUMOCAP, DeSurvey and PLUREL).

Academic training

2012 (planned)PhD, Geo-Information Science, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen
2006MSc, Geo-Information Science, Wageningen University, Wageningen
2006Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Wageningen University, Wageningen

Professional employment history

2007 - 2011Researcher and consultant, Research Institute for Knowledge Systems bv, Maastricht

Selected publications

Van Vliet, J., Hurkens, J., White, R., and Van Delden, H. (in press). An activity based cellular automaton model to simulate land use changes. Environment and Planning B, Doi: 10.1068/b36015.

Van Delden, H., Van Vliet, J., Rutledge, D., and Kirkby, M.J. (2011).  Scaling issues in integrated models for policy support. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 142 (1-2): 18 – 28.

Van Vliet, J., Bregt, A.K., and Hagen-Zanker, A. (2011). Revisiting Kappa to account for change in the accuracy assessment of land use change models.Ecological Modelling, 222 (8): 1367 – 1375.

Van Delden, H., Stuczynski, T., Ciaian, P., Paracchini, M.L., Hurkens, J., Lopatka, A., Gomez, O., Calvo, S., Shi, Y., Van Vliet, J., and Vanhout, R. (2010). Integrated assessment of agricultural policies with dynamic land use change modeling. Ecological Modelling, 221 (18): 2153 – 216.

Van Vliet, J., White, R., and Dragicevic, S. (2009). Modeling urban growth using a variable grid cellular automaton. Computers Environment and Urban Systems, 33(1): 35 – 43.