Developing a science of land change: Challenges and methodological issues

Ronald R. Rindfuss, Stephen J. Walsh, B. L. Turner, Jefferson Fox, Vinod Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

529 Scopus citations


Land-change science has emerged as a foundational element of global environment change and sustainability science. It seeks to understand the human and environment dynamics that give rise to changed land uses and covers, not only in terms of their type and magnitude but their location as well. This focus requires the integration of social, natural, and geographical information sciences. Each of these broad research communities has developed different ways to enter the land-change problem, each with different means of treating the locational specificity of the critical variables, such as linking the land manager to the parcel being managed. The resulting integration encounters various data, methodological, and analytical problems, especially those concerning aggregation and inference, land-use pixel links, data and measurement, and remote sensing analysis. Here, these integration problems, which hinder comprehensive understanding and theory development, are addressed. Their recognition and resolution are required for the sustained development of land-change science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13976-13981
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 28 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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