Monday, February 1, 2016

Impact of Land-Use on the Climate

Through the course of history no other species has taken such a large role in the modification of the planet. Water quality and soil fertility in many regions of the world have been severely degraded, and the biotic system has been dissected, depleted, and endangered by increasing human demands (Ojima et al. 1991) Agriculture, forestry, and other land-management practices have modified entire landscapes and altered plant and animal communities of many ecosystems throughout the world (Clark et al., Ehrlich et al. 1986). Human activities has caused the extinction of countless species, and the industrial contamination of thousands of ecosystems, some damaged beyond repair.

Social and economic forces within a region often dictate how land is used. Land-use practices developed over a long period under different environmental, political, demographic, and social conditions may prove inappropriate to future conditions (Ojima et al. 1991). Climate change has the potential to both positively and negatively impact human agriculture systems. In some cases, a warmer planet might lead to higher yields, depending on land use, and in other cases it might become a detriment to yields. Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and the Human Dimensions Programme, there is emerging a program of study that articulates many of the essential needs for understanding global land-use/cover change (Turner et al. 1993). It links human actions to land-use and land cover change through cooperative studies of natural and social scientists.

Ojima, D. S., Galvin, K. A., & Turner, B. L. (1994). The global impact of land-use change. BioScience44(5), 300-304.

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. - Daniel Buffington


  1. With this type of GIS software, patterns of urban sprawl and land degradation as well as development concentration within cities could be identified. This information would definitely expose the power humans have in altering the environment and would enhance our understanding of how we can use this power in a more sustainable, efficient way.

  2. This type of GIS mapping would definitely offer a beneficial layout to how humans are interacting with their environment. Would this type of mapping also contribute to developing land use regulations and law making?

  3. Is there a map along with this article that shows the effects of it being warmer versus colder in regards to agricultural modification? It would be interesting to see the differences in the maps.

  4. Alongside agriculture production destroying ecosystems through deforestation in preparation of crop fields, could GIS also show the routes and the longevity of those routes that are often times blamed for wasting crops? Often times, transportation of crops is blamed for wasted calories as well as increased climate as a result of the pollution.