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Land-Change Science and Political Ecology: Similarities, Differences, and Implications for Sustainability Science

Land-change science (LCS) and political ecology (PE) have emerged as two complementary but parallel approaches of addressing humanenvironment dynamics for sustainability. They share common intellectual legacies, are highly interdisciplinary, and provide understanding about changes in the coupled human-environment system. Distinctions in their problem framings and explanatory perspectives, however, have accentuated their differences and masked the symmetry in much of their findings relevant for sustainability themes. Focusing on their shared interests in the human-environment interactions of land use illuminates the differences and similarities relevant to these themes. Divergence is found primarily in regard to their different foci of interests about causes and consequences of land change. Convergence is revealed in the identification of the complexity of the interactions and the importance of context in land-change outcomes and in the general consensus found in such synthesis issues as forest transitions, vulnerability, and coproduction of science and application.
B.L. Turner II and Paul Robbins
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Eman Lasheen
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