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The Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin has been developing global databases of contemporary and historical agricultural land use and land cover. SAGE has chosen to focus on agriculture because it is clearly the predominant land use activity on the planet today, and provides a vital service?i.e., food?for human societies. SAGE has developed a ?data fusion?

Monfreda, Chad

A working paper review of current approaches to accounting for indirect land-use changes in green house gas balances of biofuels. This report reviews the current effort made worldwide to address this issue. A
description of land-use concepts is first provided (Section 2) followed by a classification of
ILUC sources (Section 3). Then, a discussion on the implications of including ILUC
emissions in the GHG balance of biofuel pathways (Section 4) and a review of methodologies
being developed to quantify indirect land-use change (Section 5) are presented. Section 6


Biofuels from land-rich tropical countries may help displace foreign petroleum imports for many industrialized nations, providing a possible solution to the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. But concern is mounting that crop-based biofuels will increase net greenhouse gas emissions if feedstocks are produced by expanding agricultural lands. Here we quantify the ?carbon payback time? for a range of biofuel crop expansion pathways in the tropics.

Gibbs, H.K.

In this paper we investigate the potential production and implications of a global biofuels industry. We develop alternative approaches to the introduction of land as an economic factor input, in value and physical terms, into a computable general equilibrium framework. Both approach allows us to parameterize biomass production in a manner consistent with agro-engineering information on yields and a ?second generation? cellulosic biomass conversion technology.

Gurgel, Angelo

Agricultural activities have dramatically altered our planet?s land surface. To understand the extent and spatial distribution of these changes, we have developed a new global data set of croplands and pastures circa 2000 by combining agricultural inventory data and satellite-derived land cover data. The agricultural inventory data, with much greater spatial detail than previously available, is used to train a land cover classification data set obtained by merging two different satellite-derived products (Boston University?s MODIS-derived land cover product and the GLC2000 data set).

Ramankutty, Navin

The preceding two chapters of this volume have discussed physical and economic data bases for global agriculture and forestry, respectively. These form the foundation for the integrated, global land use data base discussed in this chapter. However, in order to utilize these data for global CGE analysis, it is first necessary to integrate them into a global, general equilibrium data base. This integration is the subject of the present chapter

Huey-Lin Lee

This study presents the results of comparing land use estimates between three different data sets for the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB). The comparisons were performed between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) National Resource Inventory (NRI), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Land Cover Data (NLCD) database, and a combined USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Agricultural Census – NLCD dataset created to support applications of the Hydrologic Unit Model for the U.S. (HUMUS).

Santhi, Chinnisamy

Growing concern about climate change and energy security has led to increasing interest in developing renewable, domestic energy sources for meeting electricity, heating and fuel needs in the United States. Illinois has significant potential to produce bioenergy crops, including corn, soybeans, miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). However, land requirements for bioenergy crops place them in competition with more traditional agricultural uses, in particular food production.

Scheffran, Jurgen

This paper presents a range of future, spatially explicit, land use change scenarios for the EU15, Norway and Switzerland based on an interpretation of the global storylines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that are presented in the special report on emissions scenarios (SRES). The methodology is based on a qualitative interpretation of the SRES storylines for the European region, an estimation of the aggregate totals of land use change using various land use change models and the allocation of these aggregate quantities in space using spatially explicit rules.

Rounsevell M.D.A.

Land-use change models are important tools for integrated environmental management. Through scenario analysis they can help to identify near-future critical locations in the face of environmental change. A dynamic, spatially explicit, land-use change model is presented for the regional scale: CLUE-S. The model is specifically developed for the analysis of land use in small regions (e.g., a watershed or province) at a fine spatial resolution.


Land use change models are tools to support the analysis of the causes and consequences of land use dynamics. Scenario analysis with land use models can support land use planning and policy. Numerous land use models are available, developed from different disciplinary backgrounds. This paper reviews current models to identify priority issues for future land use change modelling research.

Verburg, Peter H.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy jointly analyzed the economic potential for, and impacts of, large-scale bioenergy crop production in the United States. An agricultural sector model (POLYSYS) was modified to include three potential bioenergy crops (switchgrass, hybrid poplar, and willow). At farmgate prices of US $2.44/GJ, an estimated 17 million hectares of bioenergy crops, annually yielding 171 million dry Mg of biomass, could potentially be produced at a profit greater than existing agricultural uses for the land.


Land-use change models are used by researchers and professionals to explore the dynamics and drivers of land-use/land-cover change and to inform policies affecting such change. A broad array of models and modeling methods are available to researchers, and each type has certain advantages and disadvantages depending on the objective of the research. This report presents a review of different types of models as a means of exploring the functionality and ability of different approaches.


This paper presents an overview of multi-agent system models of land-use/cover change (MAS/LUCC models). This special class of LUCC models combines a cellular landscape model with agent-based representations of decisionmaking, integrating the two components through specification of interdependencies and feedbacks between agents and their environment. The authors review alternative LUCC modeling techniques and discuss the ways in which MAS/LUCC models may overcome some important limitations of existing techniques. We briefly review ongoing MAS/LUCC modeling efforts in four research areas.

Parker, Dawn C.

Human actions are altering the terrestrial environment at unprecedented rates, magnitudes, and spatial scales. Landcover change stemming from human land uses represents a major source and a major element of global environmental change. Not only are the global-level data on landuse and land-cover change relatively poor, but we need a much better understanding of the underlying driving forces for these changes. Many forces have been proposed as significant, but single-factor explanations of land transformation have proved to be inadequate.


We present a system dynamics global LUC model intended to examine LUC attributed to biofuel production. The model has major global land system stocks and flows and can be exercised under different food and biofuel demand assumptions. This model provides insights into the drivers and dynamic interactions of LUC, population, dietary choices, and biofuel policy rather than a precise number generator.

To provide easier access to geospatial satellite products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) today announced the launch of CropScape, a new cropland exploring service. CropScape provides data users access to a variety of new resources and information, including the 2010 cropland data layer (CDL) just released in conjunction withCropScape. 

This new service offers advanced tools such as interactive visualization, web-based data dissemination and geospatial queries and automated data delivery to systems such as Google Earth. 

The IPCC SRREN report addresses information needs of policymakers, the private sector and civil society on the potential of renewable energy sources for the mitigation of climate change, providing a comprehensive assessment of renewable energy technologies and related policy and financial instruments. The IPCC report was a multinational collaboration and synthesis of peer reviewed information: Reviewed, analyzed, coordinated, and integrated current high quality information.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuel in the United States. Until advanced technologies become commercially viable, meeting these targets will increase demand for traditional agricultural commodities used to produce ethanol, resulting in land-use, production, and price changes throughout the farm sector. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment. Meeting EISA targets for ethanol production is estimated to expand U.S.

Malcolm, Scott A.