the planet;158 it can also make use of Earth-observing satellites that offer 1-to 3-m resolution and that facilitate observation, archiving, and analysis of human impacts at that scale. Success will depend on collaboration between social scientists and physical scientists in developing better algorithms for analyzing the large datasets provided by fine-resolution satellites to address behavioral questions.159 Use of remotely sensed data at this fine scale will require attention to confidentiality in archiving and can benefit from past experience with social data.160

Over the next 5 to 10 years research on land use issues can be expected to meet a number of goals:

  • Development of datasets and comparative empirical studies on the social causes and consequences of land use and land cover change in different regions that will permit improved understanding of the relative roles of population dynamics, economics, and other factors in driving environmental change.

  • An improved capability to include detailed land use and land cover information in regional- and global-scale models and the development of prototype land use models that can be validated and used to identify gaps in knowledge.

  • Use of a wider range of satellite data to study human-environment interactions.

  • Improved understanding of the relationship of population mobility to land use change, including the dynamics and environmental impacts of migration.

Methods for Improving Decision Making About Global Change

The link from science to policy is a major weakness in human response to global change. Although science-based understanding is essential for making informed decisions, it is not always obvious to scientists which information would be considered useful and relevant by participants in environmental decisions. It is also difficult for international, national, and local decision makers to make sense of available scientific information on complex environmental systems, much of which is uncertain or disputed and all of which is subject to change. Well-informed choices are even harder to make because they must be acceptable to decision participants who do not share common understandings, interests, concerns, or values. Research should pursue three related aims: improving methods for valuing nonmarket goods; improving analytical methods for integrating multiple types of decision-relevant information (e.g., integrated assessment models, cost-benefit analyses); and developing decision processes that effectively combine analytical, deliberative, and participatory approaches to



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