CLUE model

The CLUE model is a dynamic, spatially explicit, land use and land cover change model

 Clue model
The different versions of the CLUE model (CLUE, CLUE-s, Dyna-CLUE and CLUE-Scanner) are among the most frequently used land use models globally. Applications range from small regions to entire continents. The CLUE model is a flexible, generic land use modeling framework which allows scale and context specific specification for regional applications.
The model is distributed as freeware and can be downloaded together with tutorials through the link on this web-site. It is not possible to provide support on the application unless in the context of collaborative projects.
The original idea of the first CLUE model version was made by Tom Veldkamp and Louise Fresco and published in 1996. Later versions were created by Peter Verburg in collaboration with collegues at Wageningen University and worldwide. The CLUE-Scanner version is an implementation of the Dyna-CLUE version in DMS software of ObjectVision.

Core publications on the CLUE model include:

  • Verburg, P.H. and Overmars, K.P., 2009. Combining top-down and bottom-up dynamics in land use modeling: exploring the future of abandoned farmlands in Europe with the Dyna-CLUE model. Landscape Ecology 24(9): 1167-1181. 
  • Verburg, P.H., Berkel, D.v., Doorn, A.v., Eupen, M.v. and Heiligenberg, H.A.R.M.v., 2010. Trajectories of land use change in Europe: a model-based exploration of rural futures. Landscape Ecology 25(2): 217-232. 
  • Verburg, P.H., Eickhout, B., van Meijl, H. 2008. A multi-scale, multi-model approach for analyzing the future dynamics of European land use. Annals of Regional Science, 42(1): 57-77.
  • Verburg, P.H., Veldkamp, A., 2004. Projecting land use transitions at forest fringes in the Philippines at two spatial scales. Landscape Ecology 19 (1): 77-98 (2004)
  • Verburg, P.H., Soepboer, W., Limpiada, R., Espaldon, M.V.O., Sharifa, M.A., Veldkamp, A. 2002 Modelling the spatial dynamics of regional land use: The CLUE-S model. Environmental Management, 30,  391-405. 
  • Verburg, P.H., de Koning, G.H.J., Kok, K., Veldkamp, A., Bouma, J. 1999. A spatial explicit allocation procedure for modelling the pattern of land use change based upon actual land use. Ecological Modelling, 116, 45-61. 
  • Veldkamp A, Fresco LO, 1996. CLUE-CR: an integrated multi-scale model to simulate land use change scenarios in Costa Rica. Ecol Model 91.

Applications of the CLUE model have been made around the world in many different environments. Typical applications include the simulation of deforestation, land degradation, urbanization, land abandonment and integrated assessment of land cover change.

Examples of applications include:

  • Verburg P.H., Overmars, K.P., Huigen, M.G.A., de Groot, W.T., Veldkamp A., 2006. Analysis of the effects of land use change on protected areas in the Philippines. Applied Geography, 26(2): 153-173.
  • Wassenaar, T., Gerber, P., Rosales, M., Ibrahim, M., Verburg, P.H., Steinfeld, H., 2007. Predicting land use changes in the Neotropics: the geography of pasture expansion into forest. Global Environmental Change, 17: 86-104. 
  • Castella, J.-C., Kam S.P., Quang D.D., Verburg, P.H., Hoanh, C.T., 2007 Combining top-down and bottom-up modelling approaches of Land Use/Cover Change to support public policies: Application to sustainable management of natural resources in northern Vietnam. Land Use Policy 24(3): 531-545. 
  • Lin, Y-P., Hong, N-M., Wu, P-J., Wu, C-F., Verburg, P.H. 2007. Impacts of land use change scenarios on hydrology and land use patterns in the Wu-Tu watershed in Northern Taiwan. Landscape and Urban Planning 80: 111-126. 
  • Overmars, K.P., Verburg, P.H., Veldkamp, A. 2007. Comparison of a deductive and an inductive approach to specify land suitability in a spatially explicit land use model . Land Use Policy 24(3): 584-599. 
  • Lesschen, J.P., Kok, K., Verburg, P.H., Cammeraat, L.H. 2007. Identification of vulnerable areas for gully erosion under different scenarios of land abandonment in Southeast Spain. Catena 71: 110-121. 
  • Eggers, Jeannette; Tröltzsch, Katja; Falcucci, Alessandra; Maiorano, Luigi; Verburg, Peter; Framstad, Erik; Louette, Gerald; Maes, Dirk; Nagy, Szabolcs; Ozinga, Wim; Delbaere, Ben., 2009. Is biofuel policy harming biodiversity in Europe? Global Change Biology Bioenergy 1: 18-34. 
  • Hurkmans RTWL, Terink W, Uijlenhoet R, Moors EJ, Troch PA, Verburg PH (2009) Effects of land use changes on streamflow generation in the Rhine basin. Water Resources Research 45, W06405, doi:10.1029/2008WR007574. 
  • Britz W, Verburg PH, Leip A (2010) Modelling of land cover and agricultural change in Europe: Combining the CLUE and CAPRI-Spat approaches. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2010.03.008.
  • Trisurat, Y, Alkemade, R, Verburg, P 2010. Projecting Land-Use Change and Its Consequences for Biodiversity in Northern Thailand. Environ Manag 45:626-639.

How to use CLUE in your own project?

Unfortunately we are not able to assist everybody interested in the CLUE model in the implementation of the model for his/her project. Because the model requires both advanced insight in the functioning of the land use system in a particular case study as well as advanced knowledge of GIS and modelling it is difficult to implement the model without prior experience in advanced spatial analysis.

If you are interested in exploring the basic functioning of the model it is possible to download the DEMO version of the CLUE model and test the functioning based on the tutorial.

Download DEMO version of CLUE

This DEMO version of CLUE is similar to the full model but is restricted in the maximum dimensions of the study area, the number of land use types etc. These restrictions include:

  • Maximal grid dimensions (rows, columns): 108, 128
  • Maximal number of land use types: 5
  • Maximal number of regions: 1
  • Maximal number of factors: 11 in 1 equation, 13 in total
  • Exceeding these restrictions will cause the model to exit as soon as the 'Run' button is clicked.

Instructions for installation:

After downloading the file '' extract this file to a folder on your computer. All files need to be in the same directory and both input and ouput files will be in this directory.

A manual is provided as a help file, which is included in the setup file. The downloaded model contains data for Sibuyan Island, the Philippines (see Verburg et al., 2002).

The reference to this version of the CLUE model is: Verburg and Overmars, 2009. Landscape Ecology 24(9) 1167-1181.



This section contains a tutorial with a number of exercises that help you to explore the Dyna-CLUE model. The exercises are based on the DEMO version CLUE that can be downloaded above.

Manual with all exercises (pdf).

Full version of CLUE:

You can also download the unrestricted version of CLUE. By downloading this version you agree to properly refer to the software in any publication (Verburg and Overmars, 2009. Landscape Ecology 24(9): 1167-1181); not to rename the model or claim ownership otherwise; not to ask for unpaid assistance with the authors and not blame any mistakes in the operation of the model or its results to the model function or concept. Download full version here.

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