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Global Land Programme’s Headquarters Is UMD-Bound

Network’s Thousands of Scientists Study Issues Ranging From Global Carbon Emissions to Food Security

By Rachael Grahame ’17

Aerial view of rice terraces in Chế Cu Nha, Vietnam

Rice terraces follow the contours of northwest Vietnam's dramatic terrain. An international research program that focuses on land use for agriculture and other purposes amid rapid environmental change is moving its headquarters to UMD's Department of Geographical Sciences next month.

Photo by Doan Tuan/Unsplash

An international research program that brings together more than 2,300 land scientists to advance studies of rapid changes to Earth’s environment is moving its home to the University of Maryland on Feb. 1.

The Global Land Programme (GLP)’s shift from the University of Bern in Switzerland to UMD’s Department of Geographical Sciences is made possible by a $2.3 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to Associate Research Professor and GLP Executive Director Ariane de Bremond, Professor and Department Chair Tatiana Loboda and Professor Christopher Justice.

“The Department of Geographical Sciences is deeply involved in a variety of international programs that are guiding the constellations of earth observations and global scientific agendas on a sustainable future,” said Loboda. “We are excited to house this international research network on land system science and are looking forward to deeper engagement with the network’s communities in the upcoming years.”

The transition to College Park after seven years in Bern will facilitate new GLP collaborations with partners of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, including NASA and its Land-Cover and Land-Use Change Program, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The GLP, part of the Future Earth Global Research Network, will also collaborate with the International Center for Geospatial Innovation in Geographical Sciences.

“Through these collaborations, we will expand our engagement with interested parties and decision makers to understand their knowledge needs, identify priority research and information gaps to address the challenges of global change, and generate actionable knowledge in support of sustainability transformations in land systems,” de Bremond said.

Global collaborations like those enabled by the GLP are increasingly sought after as world leaders search for solutions to combat climate change without compromising food security, cultural preservation and sustainability.

“Different demands on land means that land use decision-making is often controversial; and that interdisciplinary research in land use is needed to better understand how land can be managed for societal benefit,” said Justice. “Over the last 20 years, the Global Land Programme has established itself as the premier international forum for land use scientists and an incubator for new directions in land use science. Hosting the GLP is truly an honor for the University of Maryland.”



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