The changes in the cover and use of the surface of the Earth depend on natural processes, and are – at the same time - shaped by demographic, economic, cultural, political, and technological drivers. A land-use/cover model can help in understanding and interpreting the complexities and the interactions between the bio-physical and human systems which are at the basis of land dynamics.
Based upon the innovative concept of ‘Dynamic Land Functions’, the Land Use Modelling Platform (LUMP) has been developed by the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to support the policy needs of different services of the European Commission, such as the exploration of future policies and impact assessments of specific proposals. LUMP aims to provide a comprehensive, consistent and harmonised analysis of the impacts of, and responses to, environmental and socio-economic changes in Europe.
LUMP is based upon the combination of an explicit land-use model and its linkages with other modelling activities in specific thematic fields, such as hydrology, agriculture, economy, phenology, etc. The high-resolution land-use/cover model EUClueScanner (EUCS100), developed in collaboration with DG Environment, is the core component of the platform.
The outputs produced within this platform are simulated land-use maps that can be used to assess the spatial impacts of environmental changes (e.g. climate change) and of European policies, such as regional, agricultural, environmental, energy and transport policies.
The Land Use Modelling Platform has a modular structure and has three main components: the land demand module, the land allocation module (EUCS100) and the indicator module.
It is based on the dynamic simulation of competition between land uses. Its spatial allocation rules stem from a combination of demand for land, overall suitability, neighbourhood characteristics and scenario/policy-specific decision rules. It combines the top-down allocation of land-use/cover drivers at national and regional level for all EU Member States with a bottom-up determination of conversions for specific land-use transitions. The EUCS100 model operates at a spatial resolution of 100 x 100 metres.
Methodological framework of the Land Use Modelling Platform
In order to provide a coherent and harmonised framework for Impact Assessment procedures accompanying EC initiatives, the Land Use Modelling Platform has been configured to be consistent with the definition of the Reference Scenario, as given in the Climate and Energy package.
The Reference Scenario configuration is the benchmark scenario that will be used in LUMP, and is designed as the basis for comparison of alternative scenarios within the EU up to 2050. Ensuring the due consistency in macro-economic and policy assumptions, the results from different time steps (i.e. typically 2020 or 2030) are retained from the simulations.
LUMP is currently (2013) being applied to assess the territorial impacts of regional policies, to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land use and land cover changes, and to quantify the rate of achievement of selected targets of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap. Further applications will cover the formulation of adaptation strategies to climate change in the follow-up of the PESETA project and other policy initiatives such as bio-economy and unconventional energy sources.
In the recent past, LUMP has been used to analyse the impacts of different scenarios related to land use in coastal areas. The IES carried out a study entitled ‘Coastal zones in Europe: Impacts of land use policy alternatives’ that compares the results of three scenarios for the period 2000-2050 with a 1 x 1 km spatial resolution and 10 land use/cover classes. Results are presented through maps and indicators describing built-up areas, coastal erosion, risk of coastal flooding, soil quality, landscape fragmentation and biodiversity. The report provides an insight into the analysis of options for Coastal Zone Management in Europe.
In 2011, the IES also carried out a study entitled ‘Implementation of the Common Agriculture Policy Options with the Land Use Modelling Platform - A first indicator-based analysis’ that assesses a range of environmental impacts resulting from the implementation of different policy options foreseen under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, focusing on the greening component of direct payments. Results are expressed in terms of land cover changes (e.g. arable land, permanent crops, pastures, natural and semi-natural vegetation, artificial surfaces, etc.) and environmental indicators such as the conservation of Green Infrastructure and biodiversity, and the change in soil organic carbon stocks. In general, and at the EU-27 level, the greening options that are modelled have a lower environmental impact than the Status Quo scenario. However, several indicators also show pronounced regional differences and local developments, which do not follow the national or European trends. The results derived from LUMP emphasise the importance of geographically targeted measures.
Land use/cover in 2020, according to the Integration policy option
In the context of the Impact Assessment for the EC Communication on the “Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources” (2012), the Land Use Modelling Platform was the key element for the development of a baseline scenario that brings together climate, land-use and socio-economic scenarios and a multi-criteria optimisation of different policy scenarios for water resource availability and use. The methodology and the results are described in the studies "A multi-criteria optimisation of scenarios for the protection of water resources in Europe" and "Evaluation of the effectiveness of Natural Water Retention Measures".
Carlo Lavalle - Tel: +39-0332-785231 E-mail: carlo.lavalle(at)jrc.ec.europa.eu