Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (4): 456-468.doi: 10.11821/xb200904008

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Recent Progresses of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LUCC) Models

TANG Huajun1,2, WU Wenbin1,2, YANG Peng1,2, CHEN Youqi1,2, Peter H. VERBURG3   

  1. 1. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Resources Remote Sensing and Digital Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China;
    3. Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen 47-6700, the Netherlands
  • Received:2008-08-27 Revised:2009-02-14 Online:2009-04-25 Published:2009-04-25
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2007BAC03A10; National Non-Profit Scientific Institution, Ministry of Finance of China, No.2008IARRP01]


Land use and land cover change (LUCC) is a major part and also a main cause of global environmental changes, and it has emerged recently as an important focus for land change studies. Based on the systematic summary of the progress of studies in LUCC in the latest decade, including its theories, methods and applications, a series of problems that should be urgently resolved in the study are put forward, and some important study directions and priorities for future are reviewed. Results show that LUCC model plays an important role and is an efficient tool to support the analysis of the causes, processes and consequences of land use systems and to support land use planning and policy. Second, spatio-temporal patterns of LUCC are the research core of LUCC models. The development of models has experienced an evolvement from single non-spatial to the combination of non-spatial and spatial models, however, at present most models are static models and ignore the temporal dimension of land-use change. Third, feedback is one of the important characteristics of LUCC; however, the majority of the existing LUCC models are very weak in analyzing and presenting the feedbacks of LUCC. In this regard, how to get a better understanding of the feedbacks at different time and space scales will be one of new tasks in LUCC models. Fourth, the objective of LUCC models is to study the dynamic relations of a coupled human-environment. Currently, most LUCC models are partial-equilibrium ones. Future LUCC models will focus on studies on the human-environment system from a systematic and holistic point of view. Fifth, multi-scale analysis in LUCC models is needed for a better understanding of land use change. Early LUCC models used to take a single scale or level of analysis into account. Recently, a number of LUCC models which implement multiple scales can be distinguished. The scaling will be a key issue in future LUCC models. Finally, although many methods of model validation are available, there is not a uniform standard and criterion of model validation. The weakness in reference data also limits the performance of model validation. All these will challenge the development of future LUCC models.

Key words: land use and land cover change (LUCC), model, function, spatio-temporal pattern, feedback, scale, validatio