increase in information that describes and measures land systems requires expertise in inference and knowledge of the local systems in order to make effective use of it. In other words, new skills are required to synthesize and qualify data from multiple sources and disciplines. Furthermore, measurements from different agencies, sensors, and researchers may share the same or similar categories but under significantly different conditions and assumptions (i.e., the semantics are different)—a common problem in integrating land classes undertaken by different research programs. Therefore, LCMs cannot simply integrate these data into a single database; land change scientists must identify robust approaches to translate the raw observations into meaningful information (Di Gregorio, 2005).
Land change models have been and continue to be critical to a large range of uses and users in science and practice. Indeed, the demands on LCMs continue to increase in terms of product outcomes and uses. These demands confront a series of problems, the broad outline of which has been noted. Input to inform the opportunities identified in this report was gathered at committee meetings and a workshop, through the committee’s own expertise, and through a questionnaire distributed electronically to a variety of individuals and groups working on LCMs (see Appendix A for a full list of contributors). The workshop included national and international experts in land-climate interactions, water quantity and quality, food-fiber, energy, ecosystem services, and urbanization. In Chapter 2 we describe and compare approaches to LCM and suggest guidance for their appropriate application. In Chapter 3 we suggest ways to improve LCMs and outline several forward-looking issues.