Spatial analysis provides a platform for bringing together the different dimensions of global change research. Changes in the use of land and resources are both a driver of global change and a consequence of global change processes. Spatial patterns of changes in the use of the land surface, the sea and natural resources are the result of interactions between socio-economic drivers and environmental conditions. The driving factors and associated processes of global change operate across different scales: local changes may have impacts at other (distant) places (teleconnections) and thus affect global patterns of change. Examples of such teleconnections are the impacts of global trade, climate change and the downstream effects of upstream changes in the hydrology.
Understanding how spatial patterns of land and resource use emerge from human-environment interactions is core to achieving targeted and context-specific management of natural resources and adaptation to global environmental change. Spatial information systems, spatial statistics, dynamic modelling and decision support systems all belong to the toolbox of methods applied to improve our understanding and support management and policy. Coupling of macro-economic approaches with more detailed spatial environmental impact analysis can provide insights in the role of large scale processes for local environmental risk across multiple scales.
Key research foci
• Spatial and economic models of land use and land cover change
• Spatial decision support systems
• Scenario analysis of environmental impacts to land change
Core Faculty Members
Prof Peter Verburg
Prof Jeroen Aerts
Prof Sampurno Bruijnzeel
Prof Flip Witte