Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change on Ecological Processes

Science Center Objects

Scientists, planners, policy makers and other decision-makers in the South Central U.S. want to understand the potential impacts of changes in climate, precipitation, and land-use patterns on natural and cultural resources. Though the potential impacts of climate change can be modeled to help decision-makers plan for future conditions, these models rarely incorporate changes in land-use that ma...

Scientists, planners, policy makers and other decision-makers in the South Central U.S. want to understand the potential impacts of changes in climate, precipitation, and land-use patterns on natural and cultural resources. Though the potential impacts of climate change can be modeled to help decision-makers plan for future conditions, these models rarely incorporate changes in land-use that may occur. Climate change and land-use change are often linked, as shifts in precipitation and temperature can alter patterns in human land-use activities, such as agriculture.



This project sought to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use projections to satisfy a range of application needs. Stakeholders from across the region participated in the development of the model through two workshops, designed to first gather stakeholder needs and then to apply and evaluate the model to ensure that it maximizes potential use across all stakeholder groups.



Users of the end-product will be able to build customized, scenario-based projections of landscape change, including landscape response to climate change, such as wildfires or altered vegetation patterns. The projections generated with these tools will enable decision-makers and land-use planners to visualize potential future landscapes, optimize land management practices, and adapt to negative impacts of climate and land-use change on ecological and economic systems.