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INTEGRAL LAND EVALUATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO POLICY

B. SMIT, M. BRKLACICH, J. DUMANSKI, K. B. MacDONALD, M. H. MILLER

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An approach to integral land evaluation is described and its application to land use policy issues is demonstrated. The approach provides a link between bio-physical land-related information bases and the information requirements of land use planning. It is based upon the premise that the importance of a land unit for a particular use can be determined by assessing the available land units and their productivities relative to the societal requirements for products and services from the land. A mathematical model specifies land use constraints, representing limitations on resource availability and goals for production, and identifies land use options that are feasible under the specified conditions. This modelling approach provides quantitative information on land use flexibility and on the critical importance of certain land areas for specified uses, given both the bio-physical and socio-economic conditions. For demonstration, a prototype model for the agri-food sector is applied to Ontario under three scenarios, showing the sensitivity of different regions and land types for agricultural production. Key words: Integral land evaluation, physical land evaluation, land use policy, resource constraints, production targets, land use flexibility