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How can land system science support sustainability transformations?

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group
Organizers: Ariane De Bremond, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Darla Munroe


How can land system science support sustainability transformations?

Organizers: Ariane de Bremond, Global Land Programme & Universities of Maryland and Bern, Switzerland| Darla Munroe, Ohio State University | Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Clark University

Land is at the nexus of crucial societal and environmental challenges. Decisions on land use can thus serve as the very pathways through which the well-being of humans and nature can be secured, e.g., as a bridge between individual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over three-quarters of Earth’s land surface is used for the needs of people: agriculture, forestry, and settlements that support increasingly complex global supply chains. This complexity is compounded by diverse stakeholders—each with different values and management aims— making land governance a “wicked” problem. Solutions can often yield additional problems: inherent trade-offs between producers, conservation, and other uses lead to losers as well as winners. Given these complexities and challenges, it is critical to move beyond territorial approaches to land management, and instead to better manage globalized flows of land-based resources and address power asymmetries between actors and across scales and locations. Sharing the planet fairly with each other and nature is a collective challenge that demands new approaches, new tools, and a new level of societal engagement. Land system science (LSS) initiatives such as the Global Land Programme of the Future Earth research program seeks to achieve this – with scientists increasingly employing transdisciplinary methods that engage local, lay, and indigenous knowledge to support transformations toward a sustainable future.
The recently published Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR, 2019) and related calls for a global mission for sustainability science (Messerli, 2019) identifies six global systemic entry points where knowledge production is urgently needed: strengthening human well-being and capabilities; shifting towards sustainable and just economies; building sustainable food systems and healthy nutritional patterns; achieving energy decarbonization and universal access to energy; promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development; and sustaining the global environmental commons. This session invites critical reviews and empirical case studies at the LSS – policy interface that explore how land science can support the reconciliation of evidence and socio-political deliberation as outlined in the GSDR, and related efforts by the US National Academy of Sciences and International Science Council (ISC) to maximize the impacts of SDG-related research investments. Topics may further include, but are not limited to:

• Co-producing land systems knowledge and application of transdisciplinary approaches to co-design and co-implement pathways to transformation;
• Synthesis of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary evidence on key trade-offs and co-benefits across contexts and scales;
• Ecological complexity and local/indigenous ecological knowledge;
• Participatory methods in land systems research, policy and praxis;
• Integrating scientific and stakeholder-derived data streams;
• Leveraging GIScience and novel tools and approaches;
• Climate adaptation and stakeholder empowerment;
• Land governance in a telecoupled world;

This session is part of the HDGC Special Symposium on Global Change Research at the Science-Policy Interface at the 2020 AAG meeting. For full consideration, please submit your paper title, abstract and AAG PIN no later 12pm Nov 11, 2019 to and

United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals report 2019. (United Nations, 2019).
Messerli, P., E. M. Kim, W. Lutz, J.-P. Moatti, K. Richardson, M. Saidam, D. Smith, P. Eloundou-Enyegue, E. Foli, A. Glassman, G. H. Licona, E. Murniningtyas, J. K. Staniškis, J.-P. van Ypersele and E. Furman (2019). "Expansion of sustainability science needed for the SDGs." Nature Sustainability 2(10): 892-894.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter V. Kelly Turner*, University of California Los Angeles, Ariane Middel, Arizona State University, Florian Schneider, Arizona State University, Zhang Yujia, Arizona State University, Matthew Stiller, Kent State University, “Cool” City? Urban Experiments in Heat Reflective Coatings 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Darla Munroe*, Ohio State University, Kendra McSweeney, Ohio State University, Addressing root drivers of land-climate dynamics 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Ariane De Bremond*, University of Maryland - College Park, Co-designing global monitoring systems for large-scale land transactions: Learnings from the Land Matrix Initiative 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Julia Haggerty*, Montana State Univ, Kathleen Epstein, Montana State University, Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University, Jackson Rose, Montana State University, Ownership trajectories of the ranches of the super-rich: a mixed methods approach to a critical land tenure question 15 12:00 AM

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