Worldwide changes in land use and land cover alter the spatial distributions of natural resources and ecosystem functions. Here I examined the pattern and process of landscape change in the Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan region, to understand how these changes originate from and have influence on human decisions regarding land management and policy formation. First, I simulated future landscape patterns that could arise from conservation-based land use policies and assessed the potential impacts to priority natural resources and landscape composition. Second, I analyzed the process of landscape change as it originates with the decisions of individual forest owners by utilizing a unique combination of individual, site, and landscape level data within a structural equation modeling framework. Third, I used a stated preference survey to examine how those individual decisions may change with new global markets for biofuels. My findings highlight the importance of considering landscape change as a multi-scale process with integrated human, environmental, and spatial components. Advancing our understanding of these processes will support planning organizations at local to regional levels in developing sustainable natural resource management plans that are in line with societal values while preserving biodiversity and ecosystem function.