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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, FAO, SLAC. Outline. Information needs for land use planning and current challenges in meeting these needs

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land use planning in the oecs using the automated land evaluation system ales

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

outline
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
land use planning definition

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.

information needs bio physical factors
INFORMATION NEEDSBio-physical factors
  • Soil and Physiography
  • Land Cover/ Land Use
  • Topography
  • Administrative
  • Hydrology
information needs bio physical factors6
INFORMATION NEEDS Bio-physical factors
  • Infrastructure
  • Elevation
  • Protected Areas and Forest Reserves
  • Climate
  • Land parcel
information needs socio economic factors
INFORMATION NEEDSSocio-economic factors
  • Objectives
  • Resources
  • Constraints
  • Land tenure systems
  • Registration
  • Land rights
information needs socio economic factors8
INFORMATION NEEDSSocio-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
information needs socio economic factors9
INFORMATION NEEDSSocio-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
issues and challenges climatic databases
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESClimatic 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.
issues and challenges soil and terrain
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESSoil 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)
issues and challenges water resources databases
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESWater 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.
issues and challenges land cover and biodiversity databases
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESLand 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
issues and challenges land uses crop and production systems
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESLand 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
issues and challenges land uses crop and production systems15
ISSUES AND CHALLENGESLand 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
issues and challenges
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
  • Economy of inputs and outputs is liable to strong variability
  • Biophysical databases may have a useable lifetime of 20 - 30 years
  • Economic and social databases will normally have to be revised every 5 - 10 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.
issues and challenges17
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
  • Data dispersed among many agencies
  • Maintenance and updating
  • Need for building awareness of the utility of the LRIS
the development of ales and its capacity as a multi dimensional multi use system

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

background
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.
background continued objectives of the regional project
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.
background21
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.
what is ales
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:

components of ales
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
components of ales cont d
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.
framework for decision making
Framework for decision-making

LAND EVALUATION

SOCIO-ECONOMIC EVALUATION

1

2

3

4

Land Resources Database

Economic Database

Social factors

Land Use Database

1. Costs of inputs

2. Sale prices

1. Objectives

2. Resources

3. Constraints

1. Soil

2. Climate

3. Other factors

1. Crop requirements

2. Production systems

5

Identify land

management units

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

LAND USE OPTIONS

7

Carry out multiple goal optimization exercise to maximise achievement of desired objectives

8

Select best land use

how ales works
How ALES works
  • A two-stage approach
    • Physical land evaluation is first conducted matching soils, climate and land use with crop requirements (this eliminates land units which are not physically suitable.
    • 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.
more about ales
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.
suitability of under utilised land st lucia
Suitability of Under-utilised Land – St. Lucia
  • S2 – Suitable; S3 – Moderately Suitable; S4 – Marginal
  • e – erosion risk; r – poor rooting conditions
suggestions for basic principles to be considered
SUGGESTIONS FOR BASIC PRINCIPLES TO BE CONSIDERED
  • 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 considered32
SUGGESTIONS FOR BASIC PRINCIPLES TO BE CONSIDERED
  • 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