The National Environmental Assessment Agency in the Netherlands is obliged to report on future trends in the environment and nature every 4 years. The last report, Nature Outlook 2, evaluated the effects of four alternative socio-economic and demographic scenarios on nature and the landscape. Spatially detailed land-use maps are needed to assess effects on nature and landscape.
The objective of the study presented here was how to create spatially detailed land-use maps of the Netherlands in 2030 using the Environment Explorer, a Cellular Automata-based land-use model to construct land-use maps from four scenarios. One of these is discussed in great detail to show how the maps were constructed from the various scenario elements, story lines and additional data and assumptions on national, regional and local land-use developments.
It was the first time in the history of our outlooks that consistent, spatially detailed land-use maps of the Netherlands for 2030 were constructed from national economic and demographic scenarios. Each map represents a direct reflection of model input and assumptions. The maps do not show the most probable developments in the Netherlands but describe the possible change in land use if Dutch society were to develop according to one of the four scenarios. The large (societal) uncertainties are reflected in the total set of future land-use maps. The application of a land-use model such as the Environment Explorer ensures that all relevant aspects of a scenario, i.e. economic and demographic developments, zoning policies and urban growth, are integrated systematically into one consistent framework.