• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Land system architecture: using land systems to adapt and mitigate global environmental change

Global Environmental Change (2013)

Turner II B L, Janetos A, Verburg P H and Murray A T

DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.12.009

Vol 23, Issue 2, pp 395-397


Land systems (mosaics of land use and cover) are human environment systems, the changes in which drive and respond to local to global environmental changes, climate to macro-economy (Foley et al., 2005). Changes in land systems have been the principal proximate cause in the loss of habitats and biota globally, long contributed to atmospheric greenhouse gases, and hypothesized to have triggered climate changes in the early Holocene (Ruddiman, 2003). Land use, foremost agriculture, is the largest source of biologically active nitrogen to the atmosphere, critical to sources and sinks of carbon, and a major component in the hydrologic cycle (e.g., Bouwman et al., 2011). Changes in land systems also affect regional climate (Feddema et al., 2005; Pielke, 2005), ecosystem functions, and the array of ecosystem services they provide. Land systems, therefore, are a central feature of how humankind manages its relationship with nature-intended or not, or whether this relationship proceeds sustainably or not.

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