Motu’s land-use change simulation model, Land Use in Rural New Zealand (LURNZ), is a computer model that simulates land-use changes at a fine spatial scale (500m X 500m) over New Zealand. The model produces dynamic paths of rural land-use change, and maps of annual rural land use change across New Zealand.

The purpose of LURNZ is to empirically investigate the potential impacts of policies which may alter land-use decisions. When combined with additional components relating to specific issues (for example, LURNZ-climate modules which look at the affects of various emissions trading policies), LURNZ is able to compare environmental policies related to land use that depend on science and that affect the environment in scientifically measurable ways.

An overview of LURNZ, including its applications and key inputs and outputs, can be found here.

We have used the LURNZ model to investigate the potential impacts of climate change, climate change policies and to investigate the relationship between land use and water quality, among other things.