Land-use Change

Welcome to the Land-use Change Oppla Group, established by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The aim of this Group is to share knowledge about the interactions of land-use change and ecosystem services.

People have been transforming natural ecosystems to grow food and to obtain firewood and timber, for millennia. Today, about 40% of the ice-free land surface is covered by crops or pastures, and in many parts of the world we continue to expand these areas because the world’s population is growing, and this growth requires resources we obtain from the land.

Land-use change has many effects on climate change. The best known of these are identifiable via the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere, which has increased due to human activities over the last 100-200 years. Land-use change also affects climate in ways unrelated to the emission of greenhouse gases, such as biophysical processes (affecting radiation and evapotranspiration) and the emission of trace gases that act as a precursor to the formation of ozone in the lower parts of the atmosphere.

These many climate-related aspects of land-use change, and the fact that they operate over different scales of time (days to centuries) and space (regional to global), pose a large challenge when aiming to understand all the effects of past, present and future land-use change on climate. It is a complex yet fascinating subject, and we welcome contributions to this Group in helping to improve our shared understanding of it.


Public posts

MOOC: Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development

An online course for professionals and students who wish to go beyond basic notions of the ecosystem services; created by University of Geneva.

This MOOC covers scientific (technical), economic and socio-political dimensions of the concept through a mix of theory, case-studies, interviews with specialists and a serious-game. The course is designed to help you:

  • Define the concept of ecosystem services, its principles and limitations
  • Understand the key services associated with any ressource (e.g., fresh water) through readings and case-
  • ...

KIT Webcast: Land-use change through time

Professor Mark Rounsevell from the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh gives an introduction to land use change in the past, present and future.


LUCexplorer interface

LUCexplorer is an innovative emulator tool that provides information on changes to carbon variables in response to land use change. It provides maps, time series and global and regional averages for variables such as gross primary productivity, leaf area index and carbon stored. Users can choose from existing land use change scenarios or construct their own custom scenarios. LUCexplorer provides fast easy access to model output results and supports learning about modelling and interaction between land use and other variables.

The original concept and underlying data for LUCexplorer...