Large-Scale Behavioural Models of Land Use Change

Short Description

The large-scale behavioural models of land use change working group is a joint venture between the AIMES project and the Global Land Programme. In linking two Global Research Projects of the Future Earth network, the group aims to support and benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration across scientific disciplines. The group therefore welcomes a wide range of perspectives and members with interests in any aspects of human, individual and collective behaviour in land system models.

The working group will support the development of the next generation of large-scale (global to continental/national scales), land-use models that are based on human behaviour, agency and decision-making processes. The purpose of this approach is to explore a wide range of key research (and policy) questions at the nexus of food, ecosystems, water, climate and energy. This will support understanding of adaptation and mitigation processes within the land system in which the land system is used as an exemplar of other socio-ecological systems. The working group will create an alternative to the current range of ‘top-down’ global models (based on macro-economics) and thus, will provide a working laboratory to test theories of human decision making, and undertake social simulation experiments in a globally (inter-)connected world, i.e. taking account of telecoupling. This includes new representations of institutional processes and their relationships with local land users. We also envisage coupling of large-scale, land-use models with other models types, such as Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs), biodiversity models and/or climate emulators to explore a wide range of environmental change drivers and to evaluate the consequences of these for ecosystem services. In practice, we will work towards a common ‘modelling framework’, or a suite of models operating within a common structure. This reflects the many different ways of modelling land use change processes, especially with respect to theories of land-use decision-making. We will explore alternative realisations of these decisional processes within the common modelling framework. All model results will be made available to the broader community through an online portal.

The group page on the AIMES project site can be found here.

Goals and Objectives

The overall goal of the working group is to support the creation of the next generation of large-scale, land-use change models that take account of human behaviour, agency and decision-making processes. The specific objectives are to:

  • Construct a large-scale, modelling framework that allows coupling of models of the various sub-components of the land system, e.g. decision making, global trade, biophysical responses, institutions, …;
  • Experiment with different models of the land user, decision process based on alternative decision theories;
  • Design and implement new models of institutions (public policy organisations) and their interactions with land users;
  • Integrate the collective processes evident within communities and societies that moderate individual behaviour, e.g. knowledge exchange, social learning, education, …;
  • Explore the effects of tele-connections on global land systems, e.g. trade, knowledge exchange, migration, urbanisation, …;
  • Evaluate these new modelling approaches against observational data from different sources, e.g. case studies, remote sensing, …;
  • Explore the impacts of future environmental change scenarios (climate and socio-economic change) on the land system, and the adaptive learning of land users;
  • Quantify the relationships between the land system, ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, and the consequences of these relationships for ecosystem services;
  • Foster an active and cooperating community of socio-ecological system modellers.

Working Group Steering Committee

Mark Rounsevell
​Maja Schlüter
Tatiana Filatova
Birgit Müller
Derek Robinson

GLP Themes: Land-atmosphere processes, Land management systems


Interested in joining this working group? Membership is open to all GLP members.

Not a GLP member yet? Sign up here. Membership is free and required for joining working groups.

Join This Working Group

Related Information


December 13, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 (All day) to Thursday, December 16, 2021 (All day)

The workshop will introduce recent work within the behavioural modelling community, and develop specific collaborative efforts leading towards global-scale modelling. Participants are invited to present flash talks and ideas for group discussion, and to complete a brief pre-workshop survey.

Read more


May 1, 2021

The joint GLP/AIMES Working Group on Large-scale Behavioural Models of Land Use Change held its second webinar in April 2021 to discuss exciting new advances in social simulation and computational modelling that can support better representation of human behaviour in the land system.

Read more


April 3, 2021
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 3:00pm

The AIMES/GLP Working Group on Large-scale Behavioural Models of Land Use Change is pleased to invite you to the second webinar of their new series on 30 April.

Read more

Working Group Coordinators


Working Group Members