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The overall goal of the Land Systems Group is to advance the understanding of terrestrial social-ecological systems where humans interact with the environment through land use. We analyze the multiple repercussions of the changes in land use on human welfare, food production, carbon dynamics, and biodiversity, as well as the effects of socioecological changes on land use. We approach these issues through quantitative and qualitative assessments alike and combine approaches from social and natural sciences at different spatial scales.

Specifically, we work with spatially explicit methods that include econometric modeling, quantitative geography, crop growth modeling, remote sensing, data mining, and simulation modeling. The current geographic focus of the research group are the countries of the former Soviet Union, China, and Southeast Asia.



13 September 2022

New paper published in Environmental Research Letters

We quantified annual changes in cropping practices for the entire Aral Sea basin and the last three decades using Landsat imagery. All resulting data are freely available at

Rufin, P., M. D. Peña-Guerrero, A....

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08 September 2022

New paper published in Environmenal Research Letters

In this paper, we revealed the large diversity of clearing processes at the forest frontiers in the Dry Chaco. To do so, we developed novel metrics that can uncover this diversity using satellite imagery.

Baumann, M., N. I. Gasparri, A. Buchadas, J....

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23 August 2022

New paper published in the Journal of Rural Studies

We used machine learning to quantify the determinants for land rental activity of farmers in Sichuan province, China. We find that household with more irrigation infrastructure and closer to markets are more likely to participate in the land rental...

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