This special issue has highlighted recent and innovative methods and results that integrate observations and modelling analyses of regional to global aspect of biophysical and biogeochemical interactions of land-cover change with the climate system. Both the Earth System and the Integrated Assessment modeling communities recognize the importance of an accurate representation of land use and land-cover change to understand and quantify the interactions and feedbacks with the climate and socio-economic systems, respectively. To date, cooperation between these communities has been limited. Based on common interests, this work discusses research priorities in representing land use and land-cover change for improved collaboration across modelling, observing and measurement communities. Major research topics in land use and land-cover change are those that help us better understand (1) the interaction of land use and land cover with the climate system (e.g. carbon cycle feedbacks), (2) the provision of goods and ecosystem services by terrestrial (natural and anthropogenic) land-cover types (e.g. food production), (3) land use and management decisions and (4) opportunities and limitations for managing climate change (for both mitigation and adaptation strategies). Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society and Crown Copyright.