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Land Use Planning in the OECS using the Automated Land Evaluation System (ALES) By L.M. Fletcher-Paul Integrated Natural Resources Management Officer,

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Presentation on theme: "Land Use Planning in the OECS using the Automated Land Evaluation System (ALES) By L.M. Fletcher-Paul Integrated Natural Resources Management Officer,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Land Use Planning in the OECS using the Automated Land Evaluation System (ALES) By L.M. Fletcher-Paul Integrated Natural Resources Management Officer, FAO, SLAC

2 Outline §Information needs for land use planning and current challenges in meeting these needs §The development of ALES and its capacity as a multi-dimensional, multi-use system §Perspectives on making progress with improved methods to measure sustainable land use

3 Land use planning - definition §Land use planning should be a decision-making process that “facilitates the allocation of land to the uses that provide the greatest sustainable benefits” (Agenda 21. Paragraph 10.5). §It is the systematic assessment of physical, social and economic factors in such a way as to encourage and assist land users in selecting options that increase their productivity, are sustainable and meet the needs of the society.


5 INFORMATION NEEDS Bio-physical factors §Soil and Physiography §Land Cover/ Land Use §Topography §Administrative §Hydrology

6 INFORMATION NEEDS Bio-physical factors §Infrastructure §Elevation §Protected Areas and Forest Reserves §Climate §Land parcel

7 INFORMATION NEEDS Socio-economic factors §Objectives §Resources §Constraints §Land tenure systems §Registration §Land rights

8 INFORMATION NEEDS Socio-economic factors §Land markets §Forms of incentive and taxation §Assessment of the fairness and adequacy of these incentives for sustainable development §Aspiration and felt needs of the different groups of land users §Costs of inputs §Current sale prices for outputs

9 INFORMATION NEEDS Socio-economic factors §Expected increase in local populations §Trends of inward and outward migration (permanent or seasonal) §Off-farm or off-region labour income §Level of capacity building §Extension services §Credit availability for farmers’ activities and other local enterprises §Rural health conditions, including occurrence of vector- borne diseases and pests

10 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Climatic databases §All countries have a network of meteorological stations, to observe and document climate and weather conditions. §In areas of difficult access, these stations may be wide apart with a limited number of recording years §Time gaps in recording §Incompleteness in the range of attributes needed.

11 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Soil and terrain §Classification criteria and naming of soils differ among countries, making correlations between classifications and countries difficult §No link between soil and terrain conditions and the overall landscape-ecological framework (a prerequisite for a holistic approach to land use planning)

12 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Water resources databases §Analysis of data from meteorological stations §Repeated measurements of stream flows §Assessment of ground water reserves through borehole analysis §Amount and types of actual uses being made of the water resources. §Some countries may not have the equipment or resources to take these measurements on an on-going basis. §Cost of taking some of these measurements may be expensive.

13 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Land cover and biodiversity databases §Geo-referenced information on floral and faunal diversity is scarce §Areas of known or inferred archeological value or reflecting typical past land use systems need to be mapped

14 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Land uses, crop and production systems Land use information is usually consolidated at district level rather than being fully georeferenced. Lack of practical, simple and widely accepted method of describing land uses and production systems is a serious constraint Each land use type should be assessed on its inherent sustainability, on the basis of a set of sustainable indicators

15 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Land uses, crop and production systems Basic information on the environmental requirements of new cultivars and non-traditional crops is not widely available or may not be available for the conditions in some SIDS. Existing databases are limited with respect to coverage and classes Little management information included in maps

16 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Economy of inputs and outputs is liable to strong variability Biophysical databases may have a useable lifetime of years Economic and social databases will normally have to be revised every years. Limitation in data availability and data quality at all scales, especially those that require substantial ground truthing Lack of common data exchange formats and protocols Inadequate communication means between computer systems, data suppliers and users.

17 ISSUES AND CHALLENGES §Data dispersed among many agencies §Maintenance and updating §Need for building awareness of the utility of the LRIS

18 The development of ALES and its capacity as a multi- dimensional, multi-use system

19 Background §Regional TCP Project - Assistance in the Development of Land Use Planning and Agricultural Production Zoning in the OECS §Executed in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines from January 2001 to January 2003.

20 Background (Continued) Objectives of the Regional Project To assist the Governments of the OECS Member States in the evaluation of their land resource base in specific areas in each country, with a view to developing policy options and programmes for the rationalisation of land use, the zoning of production and utilization of idle lands. To assist the Governments in reviewing existing land use policies and to develop modified or new policy options that will facilitate the acceleration of the regional diversification programme. To strengthen planning and management of land resources through improved systems of land evaluation in the OECS member states.

21 Background §As part of Objective 1, all countries were provided with computer hardware and software to establish a Land Resources Information System (LRIS) in the MOAs. §In Grenada, Dominica and St. Lucia, ALES was introduced to conduct the land evaluations.

22 What is ALES? Automated Land Evaluation System is a computer program that allows land evaluators to build expert systems to evaluate land according to the method presented in the FAO “Framework on Land Evaluation:

23 Components of ALES §A framework for a knowledge base describing proposed land uses in both physical and economic terms §A framework for a database describing the land areas to be evaluated §An inference mechanism to relate these two, thereby computing the physical suitability of a set of map units for a set of proposed land uses

24 Components of ALES (Cont’d) §An explanation facility that allows model builders to understand and fine tune their models §A consultation mode that allows a casual user to query the system about one land use at a time §A report generator (on-screen, to a printer or to a disk file) §An import/export module that allows data to be exchanged within external databases, geographical information systems and spreadsheets.

25 Framework for decision-making Soil 2. Climate 3. Other factors Land Resources Database Land Use Database 1. Crop requirements 2. Production systems 3 1. Costs of inputs 2. Sale prices Economic Database 4 1. Objectives 2. Resources 3. Constraints Social factors 5 Identify land management units LAND EVALUATION 6 For each land management unit identify: i) possible crop(s) or products ii) possible production systems iii) yield levels for each: iv) input/output ratio; v) risk factor; vi) environmental impact SOCIO-ECONOMIC EVALUATION 7 Carry out multiple goal optimization exercise to maximise achievement of desired objectives Select best land use 8 LAND USE OPTIONS

26 How ALES works §A two-stage approach l Physical land evaluation is first conducted matching soils, climate and land use with crop requirements (this eliminates land units which are not physically suitable. l Socio-economic evaluation conducted next to derive the suitability of the land unit for specific land utilization types e.g rain fed agriculture with low inputs or commercial agriculture with high inputs, etc.

27 More about ALES §ALES is highly interactive §ALES has a dBase interface §It does not display maps §ALES is not a GIS programme, but it can be linked with GIS systems such as ARC/INFO and IDRISI §It can analyze geographical land characteristics if map units are appropriately defined.


29 Suitability of Under-utilised Land – St. Lucia CropCrop Suitability* Area Covered (Ha) % of Total DasheenS PapayaS3e/r GingerS Golden AppleS2<1 S2 – Suitable; S3 – Moderately Suitable; S4 – Marginal e – erosion risk; r – poor rooting conditions

30 Perspectives on making progress with improved methods to measure sustainable land use

31 §Information needs should drive data collection (only collect data if they will be used) §Build on existing systems §Awareness among users of utility of the system §Institutional strengthening and capacity building §Networking and information sharing §Development of common data exchange formats and protocols SUGGESTIONS FOR BASIC PRINCIPLES TO BE CONSIDERED

32 §Common land classification system should be established to allow comparisons among countries §Update soil and land use information §Research to develop methodologies and validate models so that they are more relevant to the region §Development of metadatabases and skills bank SUGGESTIONS FOR BASIC PRINCIPLES TO BE CONSIDERED

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