Land Use Transitions in the Global South

Course content

The course provides an overview of the dominant contemporary land use transitions taking place in the Global South and analysis of how recent advances in land systems science are applied to understand these transitions. Based on theory and case studies, the course explores biophysical, socio-economic as well as institutional aspects of land use and land use change with specific focus on developing causal explanations for land use transitions. The course moreover explores land use transitions within the framework of ongoing international debates related to sustainable development, such as economic globalization, large scale land acquisitions, land andonment, urbanization and nature conservation. During the course meta-analyses and reviews as well as multiple theories, analytical lenses and methodological approaches are discussed with the aim of assessing their potential for develop theory within land system science. Topics of particular interest to the participating students will be identified at the beginning of the course and will receive more in depth attention.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics with a minor subject
MSc Programme in Global Environment and Development

Learning outcome


Dominant land use transitions in the Global South, theoretical aspects and terminology of land use change and land systems science, main local and global drivers of land use transitions, barriers to change, implications of global processes for local land use, practical aspects of land use change research in the Global South including how land use transitions relate to international sustainable development agendas.



  • Identify emerging issues in land systems science and land use transitions in the Global South

  • Acquire in depth knowledge of a particular land use transition topic and subsequently present and discuss this topic

  • Assess the potential impact of global, national and local drivers on land use transitions, including identification and analysis of causal explanations

  • Identify relevant theories and approaches for analysing land use change in the Global South



  • Discuss and critically reflect upon different aspects of land use transitions in the Global South

  • Analyze and describe drivers and impacts of particular land use transitions

  • Analyze, assess and apply results, methods, causality, theory and data in connection with land use transitions in the Global South

The form of teaching is theory exercises combined with ad hoc lectures. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.

Please see Absalon course page.

BSc in Geography and Geoinformatics or equivalent is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is prepared during the course and handed in during the exam week.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Ole Mertz   (2-716f426b6970306d7730666d)
Saved on the 28-02-2023

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