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Modelling Land Use Change


Lahmer, W., Becker, A., Pfützner, B. (1999). Modelling Land Use Change on a Regional Scale. In: Proceedings of the International Conference ‘Problems in Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology‘. Prague, Czech Republic, June 23 - 26, 1999, p. 415-423.


Phenomena and processes of global change take place and have to be investigated at all spatial scales, from local to global. However, it is primarily at the regional and local scales that political and technical measures and action can and must be taken in order to avoid critical developments and to reduce negative or undesired effects for the environment and society. Therefore, stronger research efforts are needed at these scales where the most important sources and drivers of global change are located. River basins are the preferred land surface units for water-related regional-scale studies because their drainage areas represent natural spatial integrators or accumulators of water and associated material transports and thus allow to investigate cumulative effects of human activities on the environment. Changes in river flow and water quality are valuable indicators of such effects and their consequences, and therefore need to be studied at river basin scales.

In the present study a concept is described, which allows to assess the implications of land use changes (as an important aspect of global change) on the regional water cycle. First results are presented for a meso-scale tributary basin of the Elbe river basin, which - due to the changing political and economic conditions after 1989/1990 - meets considerable socio-economic problems such as a drastic reduction of the demand for agricultural products, and accordingly increasing unemployment and social problems. Besides natural characteristics of the study region, the definition of land use change scenarios must, therefore, include socio-economic aspects evolving from the regional, national and European legislation (i.e. Agenda 2000).

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