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Tommy Dalgaard

Site‐specific modulators control how geophysical and socio‐technical drivers shape land use and land cover

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Human utilisation of natural resources is the most important direct driver of land cover patterns in the Anthropocene. Here, we present a conceptual framework for how the effects of geophysical drivers (e.g., topography, soil, climate, and hydrology) and socio‐technical drivers (e.g., technology, legal regulation, economy, and culture) on land use and land cover are shaped by site‐specific modulators such as local topography and social and cultural backgrounds of individuals. The framework is demonstrated by examples from the literature, with emphasis on the north‐western European lowland agricultural region. For example, a geophysical driver such as slope of the terrain constrains land use and is thereby an important driver of land covers, for example, forests. This effect of slope can vary depending on site‐specific modulators such as local soil fertility, local topographic heterogeneity, and shifting human population densities. Acknowledging the importance of site‐specific modulators on how geophysical and socio‐technical drivers shape land use and land covers will strengthen research on human–environmental interactions – especially important with the future increase in human populations in a constant changing world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeography and Environment
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2018

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