Conference Themes

1. What are the visions for the planetary land system? Land as the nexus for addressing global challenges

Understanding land systems is key to addressing many complex threats facing the planet. This theme will focus on land systems science insights into complex human-natural system problems in the Anthropocene such as climate change, food security, and conservation of biodiversity. Questions and insights arising from integrated assessment, scenario research, geospatial analysis, earth system science and modelling as well as research focused on telecoupled systems and social and environmental impacts will help to build common understanding of land systems science as a nexus for developing global solutions. We encourage critical discussions on bold large-scale approaches that propose optimal visions including bioenergy transitions and land-based negative emissions, and rewilding visions such as Half-Earth.

2. What do people want from land? Navigating the trade-offs and fostering synergies in land systems.

Solutions to global challenges will only be viable when they are designed to meet the needs and value the priorities of peoples and communities. This theme will focus on taking into account the multiple goals, values, norms and functions that people assign to land, how they actually manage land systems, what solutions they are building, and who decides what to do with land. We encourage sessions that will explore how issues of land tenure, conflicts and power, nature and health, co-production of ecosystem services and agrobiodiversity, food systems and livelihoods, human mobility and migration, multifunctional land uses, large-scale land acquisitions, soil degradation and landscape restoration, among others can be articulated into local and global narratives that are safe and just.  

3. How do we support transformation? New frontiers in studying and governing land systems

Land system transformations in response to global challenges are already underway. The science community addresses such transformations in part by working to understand changes and evaluating their contribution to global sustainability transitions. Such approaches include techniques such as remote sensing, agent-based modelling, crowd-sourcing, and “Big Data.” Others are advancing the science of measuring economic, social and legal aspects of land system change or studying the territorial and flow-based governance of social-environmental systems, such as land reforms, land use planning, or supply-chains governance. Engagement with stakeholders can involve participatory research methods building on indigenous knowledge, ethnographies, and other qualitative analysis. Recent normative science includes the co-production of knowledge, and policy and program evaluation. We welcome contributions on the application of these tools to manage global challenges and support an equitable and productive future.