Special Issue "Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Systems and Global Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Giuseppe Pulighe
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
CREA Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Via Po 14, 00198 Rome, Italy
Interests: watershed modeling; bioenergy development; urban agriculture; land use/land cover; geoinformation; remote sensing; spatial analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land use and land cover changes are well documented in their intensity, spatial occurrence and magnitude, and the rate of these changes is increasingly impacting on ecosystems and human society, human livelihoods and wellbeing.

Land use and land cover change mapping can play an important role in planning and management of our world, guiding transformative changes of the landscape for a sustainable future. Mapping spatio-temporal dynamics of both human societies and natural environments are illustrative for policy-makers, decision-makers and stakeholder, and promise to capture and relate spatial trajectories into strategic and value-added information.

We encourage authors to submit contributions in the following priority areas to this Special Issue of Land:

  • Multi-disciplinary research that evaluates land use and land cover changes through a socio-ecological lens, to help understand and unpack ongoing trends, and identify elements acting as game changers in either facilitating or hindering transformative change.
  • Multi-disciplinary research that evaluates how land use and land cover changes under future scenarios can be used in supporting policy decisions and guiding transformative changes.
  • Multi-disciplinary research that investigates the taken up by either institutions or individuals of the increasingly available social and biophysical mapping tools for decision making and land management.

Dr. Giuseppe Pulighe
Guest Editor

Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to the original Guest Editor, Dr. Claudia Capitani, for her significant contribution to this Special Issue. Due to work commitments, the Guest Editor of this Special Issue has changed to Dr. Giuseppe Pulighe who is now leading this project.

 

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Decision-making support
  • Scenarios
  • Web-mapping tools
  • Transdisciplinary
  • Agricultural land change
  • Urbanl land changes
  • Forest land changes

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Historical Changes and Future Trajectories of Deforestation in the Ituri-Epulu-Aru Landscape (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Land 2021, 10(10), 1042; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10101042 - 03 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1246
Abstract
The Ituri-Epulu-Aru landscape (IEAL) is experiencing deforestation and forest degradation. This deforestation is at the root of many environmental disturbances in a region characterized by endemism in biodiversity. The importance of this article is to provide useful information for those who wish to [...] Read more.
The Ituri-Epulu-Aru landscape (IEAL) is experiencing deforestation and forest degradation. This deforestation is at the root of many environmental disturbances in a region characterized by endemism in biodiversity. The importance of this article is to provide useful information for those who wish to discuss a model that can be replicated for other territories affected by deforestation and changes in natural and anthropogenic forest structure. This article focuses on the triangulation of spatialized prospective scenarios in order to identify future trajectories based on the knowledge of historical dynamics through the diachronic analysis of three satellite images (2003–2010–2014–2016). The scenarios were designed in a supervised model implemented in the DINAMICA EGO platform. The three scenarios: business as-usual (BAU), rapid economic growth (REG) and sustainable management of the environment (SME), extrapolating current trends, show that by 2061 this landscape will always be dominated forests (+84%). Old-growth forests occupy 74.2% of the landscape area in the BAU scenario, 81.4% in the SEM scenario and 61.2% in the REG scenario. The SEM scenario gives hope that restoration and preservation of biodiversity priority habitats is still possible if policy makers become aware of it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Article
Urban Type Classification and Characteristic Analysis through Time-Series Environmental Changes for Land Use Management for 31 Satellite Cities around Seoul, South Korea
Land 2021, 10(8), 799; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10080799 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
The objective of the present study was to determine changes in land coverage for 31 satellite cities surrounding Seoul and changes in values of MSPA (Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis) for a time period of about 30 years (from 1988 to 2018). Cities that [...] Read more.
The objective of the present study was to determine changes in land coverage for 31 satellite cities surrounding Seoul and changes in values of MSPA (Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis) for a time period of about 30 years (from 1988 to 2018). Cities that showed similar environmental changes were grouped utilizing a hierarchical cluster analysis. The results of this study are summarized as follows: First, as a result of analyzing changes in land coverage, urbanized areas in all 31 cities greatly increased, whereas areas of forest, grassland, farmland, wetland, etc., greatly decreased. Second, as a result of carrying out MSPA for green areas in each city, the number of Cores, Islets as stepping-stone green areas, and Branches greatly decreased. As a result of analyzing factors in cluster analysis, 12 variables were classified into four groups. After performing a cluster analysis, the 31 cities were classified into six clusters. Cluster-6 showed the biggest decrease in wetland areas. These results could be used as basic data for establishing differentiated environmental policies for clusters of cities that show similar environmental changes, and for establishing policy priorities that break away from uniform environmental policies at the local level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Article
Qualifying Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics and Their Impacts on Ecosystem Service in Central Himalaya Transboundary Landscape Based on Google Earth Engine
Land 2021, 10(2), 173; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10020173 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1109 | Correction
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) changes are regarded as one of the key drivers of ecosystem services degradation, especially in mountain regions where they may provide various ecosystem services to local livelihoods and surrounding areas. Additionally, ecosystems and habitats extend across political [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover (LULC) changes are regarded as one of the key drivers of ecosystem services degradation, especially in mountain regions where they may provide various ecosystem services to local livelihoods and surrounding areas. Additionally, ecosystems and habitats extend across political boundaries, causing more difficulties for ecosystem conservation. LULC in the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) has undergone obvious changes over the past four decades; however, the spatiotemporal changes of the LULC across the whole of the KSL are still unclear, as well as the effects of LULC changes on ecosystem service values (ESVs). Thus, in this study we analyzed LULC changes across the whole of the KSL between 2000 and 2015 using Google Earth Engine (GEE) and quantified their impacts on ESVs. The greatest loss in LULC was found in forest cover, which decreased from 5443.20 km2 in 2000 to 5003.37 km2 in 2015 and which mainly occurred in KSL-Nepal. Meanwhile, the largest growth was observed in grassland (increased by 548.46 km2), followed by cropland (increased by 346.90 km2), both of which mainly occurred in KSL-Nepal. Further analysis showed that the expansions of cropland were the major drivers of the forest cover change in the KSL. Furthermore, the conversion of cropland to shrub land indicated that farmland abandonment existed in the KSL during the study period. The observed forest degradation directly influenced the ESV changes in the KSL. The total ESVs in the KSL decreased from 36.53 × 108 USD y−1 in 2000 to 35.35 × 108 USD y−1 in 2015. Meanwhile, the ESVs of the forestry areas decreased by 1.34 × 108 USD y−1. This shows that the decrease of ESVs in forestry was the primary cause to the loss of total ESVs and also of the high elasticity. Our findings show that even small changes to the LULC, especially in forestry areas, are noteworthy as they could induce a strong ESV response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Article
Mapping of the Land Cover Changes in High Mountains of Western Carpathians between 1990–2018: Case Study of the Low Tatras National Park (Slovakia)
Land 2020, 9(12), 483; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land9120483 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
At present, the protection of nature and landscape in the high mountains of the Western Carpathians, protected as national parks, is becoming increasingly at the forefront of society’s interests in connection with the development of their economic use and the development of mass [...] Read more.
At present, the protection of nature and landscape in the high mountains of the Western Carpathians, protected as national parks, is becoming increasingly at the forefront of society’s interests in connection with the development of their economic use and the development of mass tourism. Our research was focused on analyzing the extent and character of land cover changes in the Low Tatras National Park in Slovakia over the last 30 years (1990–2018) using CORINE land cover (CLC) data. The period captures almost the entire existence of the Slovak Republic. Therefore, it was possible to evaluate the landscape changes in the protected area and to identify barriers and possibilities of its long-term sustainable development. Based on computer modeling, the main areas of the land cover changes were identified, and on the basis of historical-geographical and field research, land cover flows were determined and justified in the studied landscape of the national park. Changes were monitored using three methods: by comparing CLC maps over the years, by analyzing land cover flows, and by comparing landscape metrics obtained through the PatchAnalyst. Land cover changes occurred on up to 20% of the national park area in the given period. The most significant change was observed in the CLC class coniferous forests, with almost a 12% decrease. Conversely, there was an increase of more than 11% in the CLC class transitional woodland-shrub. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Article
Aboveground Biomass Distribution in a Multi-Use Savannah Landscape in Southeastern Kenya: Impact of Land Use and Fences
Land 2020, 9(10), 381; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land9100381 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1554
Abstract
Savannahs provide valuable ecosystem services and contribute to continental and global carbon budgets. In addition, savannahs exhibit multiple land uses, e.g., wildlife conservation, pastoralism, and crop farming. Despite their importance, the effect of land use on woody aboveground biomass (AGB) in savannahs is [...] Read more.
Savannahs provide valuable ecosystem services and contribute to continental and global carbon budgets. In addition, savannahs exhibit multiple land uses, e.g., wildlife conservation, pastoralism, and crop farming. Despite their importance, the effect of land use on woody aboveground biomass (AGB) in savannahs is understudied. Furthermore, fences used to reduce human–wildlife conflicts may affect AGB patterns. We assessed AGB densities and patterns, and the effect of land use and fences on AGB in a multi-use savannah landscape in southeastern Kenya. AGB was assessed with field survey and airborne laser scanning (ALS) data, and a land cover map was developed using Sentinel-2 satellite images in Google Earth Engine. The highest woody AGB was found in riverine forest in a conservation area and in bushland outside the conservation area. The highest mean AGB density occurred in the non-conservation area with mixed bushland and cropland (8.9 Mg·ha−1), while the lowest AGB density (2.6 Mg·ha−1) occurred in overgrazed grassland in the conservation area. The largest differences in AGB distributions were observed in the fenced boundaries between the conservation and other land-use types. Our results provide evidence that conservation and fences can create sharp AGB transitions and lead to reduced AGB stocks, which is a vital role of savannahs as part of carbon sequestration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Review

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Review
A Synthesis of Land Use/Land Cover Studies: Definitions, Classification Systems, Meta-Studies, Challenges and Knowledge Gaps on a Global Landscape
Land 2021, 10(9), 994; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10090994 - 21 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Land is a natural resource that humans have utilized for life and various activities. Land use/land cover change (LULCC) has been of great concern to many countries over the years. Some of the main reasons behind LULCC are rapid population growth, migration, and [...] Read more.
Land is a natural resource that humans have utilized for life and various activities. Land use/land cover change (LULCC) has been of great concern to many countries over the years. Some of the main reasons behind LULCC are rapid population growth, migration, and the conversion of rural to urban areas. LULC has a considerable impact on the land-atmosphere/climate interactions. Over the past two decades, numerous studies conducted in LULC have investigated various areas of the field of LULC. However, the assemblage of information is missing for some aspects. Therefore, to provide coherent guidance, a literature review to scrutinize and evaluate many studies in particular topical areas is employed. This research study collected approximately four hundred research articles and investigated five (5) areas of interest, including (1) LULC definitions; (2) classification systems used to classify LULC globally; (3) direct and indirect changes of meta-studies associated with LULC; (4) challenges associated with LULC; and (5) LULC knowledge gaps. The synthesis revealed that LULC definitions carried vital terms, and classification systems for LULC are at the national, regional, and global scales. Most meta-studies for LULC were in the categories of direct and indirect land changes. Additionally, the analysis showed significant areas of LULC challenges were data consistency and quality. The knowledge gaps highlighted a fall in the categories of ecosystem services, forestry, and data/image modeling in LULC. Core findings exhibit common patterns, discrepancies, and relationships from the multiple studies. While literature review as a tool showed similarities among various research studies, our results recommend researchers endeavor to perform further synthesis in the field of LULC to promote our overall understanding, since research investigations will continue in LULC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Other

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Perspective
Native Trees as a Provider of Vital Urban Ecosystem Services in Urbanizing New Zealand: Status Quo, Challenges and Prospects
Land 2022, 11(1), 92; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land11010092 - 06 Jan 2022
Viewed by 220
Abstract
In New Zealand, over 87% of the population currently resides in cities. Urban trees can face a myriad of complex challenges including loss of green space, public health issues, and harm to the existence of urban dwellers and trees, along with domestic greenhouse [...] Read more.
In New Zealand, over 87% of the population currently resides in cities. Urban trees can face a myriad of complex challenges including loss of green space, public health issues, and harm to the existence of urban dwellers and trees, along with domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions. Despite New Zealand being a biodiversity hotspot in terms of natural environments, there is a lack of knowledge about native tree species’ regulating service (i.e., tree development and eco-physiological responses to low air quality, GHG, rising air temperatures, and drought) and how they grow in built-up environments such as cities. Therefore, we argue for the value of these native species in terms of ecosystem services and insist that they need to be viewed in relation to how they will respond to urban abiotic extremes and climate change. We propose to diversify planted forests for several reasons: (1) to improve awareness of the benefits of diverse planted urban forests; (2) to foster native tree research in urban environments, finding new keystone species; and (3) to improve the evidence of urban ecosystem resilience based on New Zealand native trees’ regulating services. This article aims to re-evaluate our understanding of whether New Zealand’s native trees can deal with environmental stress conditions similarly to more commonly planted alien species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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Correction
Correction: Gu et al. Qualifying Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics and Their Impacts on Ecosystem Service in Central Himalaya Transboundary Landscape Based on Google Earth Engine. Land 2021, 10, 173
Land 2021, 10(5), 506; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10050506 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
In the original article [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in a Changing World)
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