Several streams of research have recently converged to identify the growing importance of distant drivers of land change, interconnections between social-ecological systems that are separated geographically, and the indirect consequences of land use changes. Local to national-scale interventions to promote sustainable land use may have unintended effects owing to a displacement of land use within and across countries. Such leakage or 'indirect land use
change' critically depends on international geographies of trade. Computing various material flows and environmental indicators embodied in international trade highlights the differences between producer and consumer-based biophysical accounting. Causal attribution of the links between material and monetary flows across countries, and actual land changes and environmental impacts at local level requires a combination of economic simulation models, statistical studies, place-based empirical studies, value chain analyses, and biophysical accounting.