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《Geographical Research》 2001-06
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A study on land use/cover change: the need for a new integrated approach

CAI Yun-long (Department of Urban and Environmental Sciences & the Center for Land Studies, Peking University; Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, The Ministry of Education, Beijing 100871, China)  
Land cover changes are not simple processes. There are complex simultaneous patterns of land-cover change, ranging from modifications in land cover to conversions and maintenance. There is a functional complexity within types of land-cover change, and a structural complexity between types of land-cover change, both in terms of spatial arrangements and temporal patterns of change. Land-cover change needs to be measured in its complexity to fully understand it. It is important to differentiate between land cover and land use when measuring patterns of changes. Land-use/land-cover change is a kind of extremely complex phenomenon. For all researchers involving in the study to avoid the unilateralism like blind-person touching elephant, they should search a new synthesis of studies. Therefore, the traditional approach of land use study is not effective and new topics are needed to be further found. A generalized and comprehensive understanding is required for the drivers of land-use change. We need a network of case studies that represents the spatial heterogeneity of the region and a multi-level approach that allows for a linkage between regional and local scale land-cover dynamics. Case study comparison is a major tool to derive generalizations of land-use/land-cover change research. We should develop new methods in mathematical modeling, descriptive models, empirical study, systematic case study and mechanism study. Linking house-hold-level information to remote sensing data is becoming a major tool to increase our understanding of land-use dynamics. The drivers of LUCC are always present but interact differently according to the temporal and spatial dynamics of the situation. A thorough understanding and modeling of these complex interactions is a prerequisite to generate realistic projections of land-cover change. The more important hypotheses for LUCC are those that frame the integration and synthesis of the science.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金重点项目 (4 98310 2 0 );; 国家自然科学基金面上项目 (4 98710 37)
【CateGory Index】: F301.24
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