Course Description

420.671 - Global Land Use Change

This course provides a comprehensive examination of global land use change including the current spatial and historical extent of forests and grasslands, methods used to detect forest cover and its current and historical changes. Reviewing these patterns will lead to an understanding of the past and present drivers of land use change. In this course, we will consider the hydrological, and major biogeochemical cycles (i.e., carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) and the impacts that forests and grasslands (and the loss of these ecosystems) has had on these cycles. The impact of forest loss on biodiversity, long term functioning of ecosystems and climate will also be discussed. After reviewing the effects of a loss of these environmental processes, we will bridge the physical and biological sciences with the social sciences by examining economic impacts and socioeconomic drivers of deforestation. Lastly, current policies and the potential effect of policies that aim to reduce deforestation such as REDD will be discussed.