Integrated Models of the Land System:
A Review of Modelling Approaches on the Regional to Global
Land-use change has been identified as one the most important processes to understand and to model global change. It is the result of complex interactions between human and environmental driving factors. A key to capturing this complexity is the analytical framework of land systems as coupled human-environment systems, a concept that is a central component of the science plan of the Global Land Project. Based on this framework, this paper presents an overview of eight integrated models of the land system. The review concentrates on model approaches that include processes of both the human and the environment sub-system and which operate in a spatially explicit manner on a regional to global scale. Another criterion used to select models is that they take into account interplay and competition between different land-use activities, e.g. between agriculture and urban development. Each model is reviewed separately in detail with focus on the different aspects of the land system that are represented within the model and on the implemented modelling concepts. This is done by systematically addressing the following topics: model purpose and application, model concepts for the human sub-system and for the environment sub-system and linkages between the sub-systems (model integration). Based on these findings commonalities and differences between the models are discussed and further research needs are identified.