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University of Amsterdam (2019)

A scenario-based spatial model of land use and land cover change in the Langkloof valley, South Africa.

van der Deijl RS

Titre : A scenario-based spatial model of land use and land cover change in the Langkloof valley, South Africa.

Auteur : van der Deijl RS

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : Master 2019

Résumé
Land use and land cover change (LUCC) is now predominantly driven by human activities. It often leads to land degradation, desertification and deforestation, which are putting a major pressure on the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. Fortunately, more than 2 billion hectares of land worldwide are suitable for restoration. The implementation of landscape restoration is now recognized as a priority by the United Nations and many governments. It is therefore of crucial importance to increase knowledge on the landscape-specific conditions for restoration. This is not an easy task, as LUCC of a landscape is driven by complex interactions of social, economic, and political drivers. Spatial LUCC models provide the opportunity to unravel these complex relations and to visualise the patterns of future land use changes under different scenarios. This study therefore implements a LUCC model in the Langkloof valley in South Africa, where the organization Living Lands is working on socio-ecological landscape restoration. The study followed two aims. First, a conceptual model was developed by means of interviews and literature review to map the drivers of land use change in the Langkloof. Second, the Dyna-CLUE spatial model of future LUCC in the Langkloof was used to simulate land use change 20 years into the future. Next to a base model run, four scenarios were simulated. These were based on storylines that were developed from the conceptual model. The conceptual model showed a complex image with as the main threats the increasing droughts and extreme weather events, the invasion of alien species, and the commercialisation of the agricultural sector. The main opportunities include the diversification of commodities, the cultivation of honeybush, tourism, and the value-added industry. The spatial model results clearly show the threat of alien invasives, and a distinction in land use dynamics between the valley floor as opposed to the hillslopes and mountains. More research is needed to expand these modelling efforts with more thorough data. It is important that these results are communicated to policy makers so that informed decisions can be made about the future of the landscape.

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