Large-Scale Behavioural Models of Land Use Change 


The working group will support the development of the next generation of large-scale (global to continental/national scales), land-use models that are based on human behaviour, agency and decision-making processes. The purpose of this approach is to explore a wide range of key research (and policy) questions at the nexus of food, ecosystems, water, climate and energy. This will support understanding of adaptation and mitigation processes within the land system in which the land system is used as an exemplar of other socio-ecological systems. The working group will create an alternative to the current range of ‘top-down’ global models (based on macro-economics) and thus, will provide a working laboratory to test theories of human decision making, and undertake social simulation experiments in a globally (inter-)connected world, i.e. taking account of telecoupling. This includes new representations of institutional processes and their relationships with local land users. We also envisage coupling of large-scale, land-use models with other models types, such as Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs), biodiversity models and/or climate emulators to explore a wide range of environmental change drivers and to evaluate the consequences of these for ecosystem services. In practice, we will work towards a common ‘modelling framework’, or a suite of models operating within a common structure. This reflects the many different ways of modelling land use change processes, especially with respect to theories of land-use decision-making. We will explore alternative realisations of these decisional processes within the common modelling framework. All model results will be made available to the broader community through an online portal.

Objectives and Goals

The overall goal of the working group is to support the creation of the next generation of large-scale, land-use change models that take account of human behaviour, agency and decision-making processes. The specific objectives are to:

  • Construct a large-scale, modelling framework that allows coupling of models of the various sub-components of the land system, e.g. decision making, global trade, biophysical responses, and institutions;
  • Experiment with different models of the land user, decision process based on alternative decision theories;
  • Design and implement new models of institutions (public policy organisations) and their interactions with land users;
  • Integrate the collective processes evident within communities and societies that moderate individual behaviour, e.g. knowledge exchange, social learning, education;
  • Explore the effects of tele-connections on global land systems, e.g. trade, knowledge exchange, migration, urbanisation;
  • Evaluate these new modelling approaches against observational data from different sources, e.g. case studies, remote sensing;
  • Explore the impacts of future environmental change scenarios (climate and socio-economic change) on the land system, and the adaptive learning of land users;
  • Quantify the relationships between the land system, ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, and the consequences of these relationships for ecosystem services;
  • Foster an active and cooperating community of socio-ecological system modellers.

Working Group Steering Committee

Calum Brown (Lead)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Tatiana Filatova

University of Twente, Netherlands

Birgit Müller

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany

Derek Robinson

University of Waterloo, Canada

Maja Schlüter

Stockholm Resilience Center, Sweden

Mark Rounsevell

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

University of Edinburgh, UK

Working Group Members

The large-scale behavioural models of land use change working group is a joint venture between the AIMES project and the Global Land Programme. In linking two Global Research Projects of the Future Earth network, the group aims to support and benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration across scientific disciplines. The group therefore welcomes a wide range of perspectives and members with interests in any aspects of human, individual and collective behaviour in land system models.

Interested in joining this working group? Send an email by clicking the button below.


Bulent Acma, Anadolu University, Turkey
Michael Aduah, University of Mines & Technology, Ghana
Rakibul Ahasan, Texas A&M University, United States
Zarema Akhmadiyeva, IAMO, Germany
David Akinwamide, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Nigeria
Felicia Olufunmilayo Akinyemi, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Botswana
Peter Alexander, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Almut Arneth, KIT, IMK-IFU, Germany
Michael Barton, Arizona State University, United States
Dan Brown, University of Washington, United States
Katherine Calvin, PNNL, United States
Abraham Coiman, Central University of Venezuela, Venezuela
Natalie Davis, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
Alan Di Vittorio, Berkeley Lab, United States
Vasco Diogo, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, Switzerland
Yue Dou, Michigan State University, United States
Nils Droste, Lund University, Sweden
Felix Eigenbrod, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Alejandro Flores, Boise State University, United States
Marta Gallardo, University of Murcia, Spain
Clovis Grinand, NITIDAE, France
Burak Güneralp, Texas A&M University, United States
Paula Harrison, Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, United Kingdom
Roslyn Henry, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Martin Jung, IIASA, Austria
Victoria Junquera, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Albert Kettner, University of Colorado, United States
Jennifer Koch, University of Oklahoma, United States
Franck Koman, SRGD, Ivory Coast
Gerbrand Koren, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Carsten Lemmen, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, LLeuphana Universität Lüneburg, C.L. Science Consult, Germany
Melvin Lippe, Thuenen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, Germany
Jorge C. Llopis, University of Bern, Switzerland
Marco Madella, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Nicholas Magliocca, University of Alabama, United States
Ziga Malek, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
Patrick Meyfroidt, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium
James Millington, King’s College London, United Kingdom
M. Surabuddin Mondal, Nims University, India
Thomas Nesme, Univ. Bordeaux, France
Michael Obersteiner, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Aurobindo Ogra, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Richard Orozco, ATB, Germany
Spandan Pandey, Clark University, United States
Dawn Cassandra Parker, University of Waterloo, Canada
Oliver Perkins, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Gary Polhill, The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom
Ajin R. S., Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, India
Derek Robinson, University of Waterloo, Canada
Kimberly Rogers, University of Colorado, United States
Alena Schmidt, University of Basel, Switzerland
Luana Schwartz, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research, Germany
Bumsuk Seo, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Sacha Siani, Indiana University, United States
Garry Sotnik, Stanford University, United States
Matteo Sposato, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Zhanli “Jerry” Sun, IAMO, Germany
Peter Verburg, VU University of Amsterdam; WSL Switzerland, Netherlands
Chris Vernon, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, United States
Yuan Wang, Nanjing University, China
Tim Williams, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
Xin Zhao, Joint Global Change Institute, PNNL


January – March 2021
October – December 2020


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The group page on the Global Land Programme site can be found here.