Land systems are social-ecological systems resulting from the interactions of land resources (e.g. land as space, soil, water, vegetation) and the natural environment, with human activities, mainly through land use, land management and land governance. We analyse these interactions and their effects on land resources and their capacity to contribute benefits to humans (e.g. food and fodder) while maintaining their underpinning natural processes and biodiversity. We explore how to improve land use, land management and land governance in order to secure land resources and human wellbeing, while minimising trade-offs. Our approaches are often mixed, combining spatially explicit data and methods, field measurements, social relational and actor-based data and methods to examine processes such as land use/land cover dynamics, deforestation and land degradation across scales.