U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) Thrust Area

Human modifications to the Earth’s land surface have a wide range of biophysical and biogeochemical effects, from changing the reflectivity of the surface to altering fluxes of moisture, carbon, and other constituents. Land surface changes, particularly those associated with conversion of land to meet demand for food, fiber, and energy, can also have a strong impact on regional hydrology. The strong and complex multi-scale linkages between land use/land cover and other sectors make it imperative to include in integrated human-Earth system modeling frameworks.

In IM3, our work in this area focuses on developing more realistic representations of future land surface changes, and using these to drive models of regional hydrology, biogeochemical cycling, and climate to understand the potential impacts. As in the energy-water nexus thrust area, we are also exploring agent-based approaches to connect local-scale constraints with larger-scale land use and land cover dynamics.


Projected change in fractional land cover across four major land cover types under a reference scenario. Source: West et al. (2014)

Thrust Area Lead: Maoyi Huang

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