Demeter is a community spatial downscaling model that disaggregates land use and land cover changes projected by integrated human–Earth system models. Demeter has not been intensively calibrated, and we still lack good knowledge about its sensitivity to key parameters and parameter uncertainties. We used long-term global satellite-based land cover records to calibrate key Demeter parameters. The results identified the optimal parameter values and showed that the parameterization substantially improved the model's performance. The parameters of intensification ratio and selection threshold were the most sensitive and needed to be carefully tuned, especially for regional applications. Further, small parameter uncertainties after calibration can be inflated when propagated into future scenarios, suggesting that users should consider the parameterization equifinality to better account for the uncertainties in Demeter-downscaled products. Our study provides a key reference for Demeter users and ultimately contributes to reducing the uncertainties in Earth system model simulations.