Land-use change is a leading cause of environmental degradation in terrestrial systems and has important implications for natural resource use. Economists have a long tradition of studying land use and in recent decades have developed empirical land-use models using econometric and optimization approaches. Integration of these land-use and biophysical models allows for a more comprehensive analysis of the consequences of future land-use change and the use of land-use policies to avoid undesirable outcomes. I provide a conceptual framework for the modeling approach, describing the individual components of an analysis as well as how they are linked together. My review describes how the literature has evolved to take advantage of spatial data and greater computing capabilities. Although most researchers have used either an econometric or an optimization approach, there is potential to combine these methods to identify more efficient land-use policies that still meet criteria of tractability and political acceptance.


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