University of FloridaDepartment of Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Understanding and Predicting the Impact of Climate Variability and Climate Change on Land Use and Land Cover Change Via Socioeconomic Institutions in Southern Africa

Participants: Jane Southworth, Youliang Qiu, Peter Waylen, Michael Binford, Eric Keys, Gregory A. Kiker[596KB], Brian Child, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena

Timeline: 2009 - 2011

Funding Agencies: NASA-LCLUC

Project Summary

This project develops a temporally and spatially multi-scaled understanding of the relationships between land-cover and land-use change (LCLUC), and climatic shifts in three watersheds within four southern African nations. We are analyzing these relationships at the watershed scale - as bounded hydrological basins - a compelling analytical framework for climate-society interactions. The research is necessarily transdisciplinary, crosscutting and has broader impacts that reach beyond the confines of academia.

We propose research that asks "how does climate variability and climate change influence land use and land cover change as it works through socioeconomic institutions?" In answering this question we test the resilience of southern Africa's socioecological systems, enhance remote sensing applications, and provide climate scenario models. The intellectual and methodological merits of this proposal arise in the mixed methods approaches designed to validate object-oriented models of human-environment interactions.

Our research will use established databases and models integrated with novel uncertainty and global sensitivity analysis tools to systematically address uncertainty issues within a practical, integrated governance/land use analysis framework. We employ historical climate, LCLUC data and recent remote sensing and socioeconomic surveys to validate and calibrate our models. These models enable scenario testing for future climate variability and coupled socioecological responses.

In terms of the broader impacts of this project, these scenarios promise to enhance our ability to plan for sustainable use of natural resources, lessen human misery in marginal areas of the world threatened by climate change, and develop the next generation of environmental researchers trained to work across disciplines. NASA and associated researchers benefit from this research through experimental and advanced use of remotely sensed images (MODIS, LANDSAT, ASTER) that push the applications of space based sensors and further the integration of these sensors with on-the-ground academic and applied research.

Resource Links



  • Ecosystem Response and Sensitivity to Climate Change in Kruger National Park. Poster. Tropical Conservation and Development Conference 2010.

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This page was last updated on July 13, 2019.