Abstract for: An Operational Framework for Seeing and Simulating Feedbacks in Land Change Science

Feedbacks, nonlinearities, and time delays are at the heart of dynamic interactions of socio-economic and biophysical systems. Land use land cover change (LUCC) is a significant component of these dynamic interactions. Land change science community recognized the need to go beyond static depictions of feedback processes. This requires explicit focus on the embedded feedbacks within and across scales as influential, endogenous structural sources of the observed behavior patterns in integrated social and biophysical systems. We present an operational framework that takes its strength from its clear emphasis on nonlinear feedback interactions as drivers of LUCC. The framework addresses both micro- and macro-level processes by employing complementary use of system modeling and spatially-explicit discrete-choice modeling. We demonstrate the potential of the approach on a rapidly urbanizing region, Pearl River Delta (PRD) in South China. To this end, we employ our systemic framework and identify the most influential feedbacks and linkages impacting the urban land conversion over the course of urban and economic growth as experienced in PRD. We also discuss the potential of systems approaches and use of complementary methods in advancing land change science both in theory and in practice. Our remarks, invariably, have implications for sustainability science as well.