Need and Options for Subnational Scale Land-Use and Land-Cover Scenarios for the United States
Scenarios of future climate, environmental, and socioeconomic conditions are used as inputs to global change research and assessment. Scenarios are plausible futures that do not convey the probability that the events described in the scenario will occur. They can be narrative by describing the overall trends and logic of future events in an internally consistent manner, quantified by rigorously calculating the consequences of the plausible trends using numerical models, or both. Research on global environmental processes, such as climate change, has advanced to the point where national-scale, regionally-differentiated, and spatially-explicit land use and land cover (LULC) scenarios for the United States are needed to improve both projections and assessments of the impacts of future climate conditions and bridge from global processes to regional and local conditions.
This report summarizes discussions during a workshop of users and producers of LULC scenarios convened by the Scenarios and Interpretive Science Coordinating Group of U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) on June 25-27, 2014. Participants at the workshop explored the state of science of LULC and opportunities for producing LULC scenarios for the United States at a subnational scale. The workshop identified critical uncertainties in projecting changes in land use/land cover, considered data and modeling capabilities, and explored elements of quantitative and qualitative scenarios of land use/land cover change that can be used by federal agencies to support multiple needs. This report focuses on needs, resources/capabilities, and barriers/opportunities for producing national-scale, regionallydifferentiated, and spatially-explicit LULC scenarios for the United States. It describes options for agency and interagency activities that would advance this research but makes no recommendations.