Sustainable Land Use (SuLU)
Global, regional and local degradation of land resources as well as segregation of land use, e.g. intensification on favorable land and marginalization in remote areas bears a world-wide conflict potential. The latter can be significantly reduced with new technologies, sound modeling approaches and knowledge-based decision support tools that reconcile economic growth and technological progress with ecosystem integrity. The ERU SuLu tackles this challenge and proposes innovations in the following fields:
- early detection and modeling of long- and short-term, spatially explicit landscape and ecosystem quality changes based on temporally, non-continuous data sources;
- modeling and forecasting land use change as a function of demographic, economic, technological and climatic driving forces; implementing the models into frameworks of adapted decision support tools that foster transparent negotiations among various actors;
- developing technologies and land management schemes that enhance ecosystem functions, goods and services of i) highly diverse non-degraded but vulnerable mountain landscapes, ii) degraded environments of the lowlands, and iii) urban and peri-urban systems. This know-how will be propagated in a restoring and a preventive mode;
- evaluating the influence of linear landscape elements (e.g. rivers) on the connectivity of ecosystems.
The current generation of land-use modeling and negotiating tools have been valuable means for exploring the implications of environmental, social and economic change, but they are limited because they focus on system states that are assumed to represent some kind of equilibrium under current and future conditions, respectively. These limitations are increasingly removed due to computational power and remote sensing tools at different spatial scales as well as advances in the research on the human-landscape interface. The proposed ERU will exploit this momentum.
There is a direct benefit for economic development in Switzerland in the sense that landscapes are the basic resource for tourism, well-being of people and cultural identification. State-of the art planning tools enable land managers to base their decision on transparent and scientifically based management approaches.
Goals and strategy
The ERU SuLu aims at:
- providing ready-to-use cutting-edge land-use modeling techniques that rely on empirical site data (see other ERUs), remote sensing and data-mining techniques, which allow for land-use modeling at different temporal and spatial scales (up-scaling);
- innovative strategies for improving and maintaining ecosystem integrity and sustainable management of biodiversity hot spots (e.g. forests, creeks) and economically important landscape types (e.g. mountain regions for tourism);
- decision support for sustainable management in mountain environments and peri-urban areas.