Climate change will have myriad effects on ecosystems worldwide, and natural and anthropogenic disturbances will be key drivers of these dynamics. In addition to climatic effects, continual expansion of human settlement into fire-prone forests will alter fire regimes, increase human vulnerability, and constrain future forest management options. There is a need for modeling tools to support the simulation and assessment of new management strategies over large regions in the context of changing climate, shifting development patterns, and an expanding wildland-urban interface. To address this need, we developed a prototype land change simulator that combines human-driven land use change (derived from the FORE-SCE model) with natural disturbances and vegetation dynamics (derived from the LADS model) and incorporates novel feedbacks between human land use and disturbance regimes. The prototype model was implemented in a test region encompassing the Denver metropolitan area along with its surrounding forested and agricultural landscapes. Initial results document the feasibility of integrated land change modeling at a regional scale but also highlighted conceptual and technical challenges for this type of model integration. Ongoing development will focus on improving climate sensitivities and modeling constraints imposed by climate change and human population growth on forest management activities.
Additional publication details
An integrated land change model for projecting future climate and land change scenarios
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center