farmland preservation: A framework for collaborative planning
in rural communities
Investigator: Dr. Frank Davis
Investigator: Dr. David Stoms
agency: USDA CSREES
period: December 15, 2004 to December 14, 2007
rural communities facing the loss of their agricultural heritage
use market interventions such as conservation easements. Simple
scoring methods are often used to rank farms for conservation
action. These methods generally do not consider all the benefits
that farmland provides nor do they appropriately measure the expected
benefit of conservation action to achieve social goals cost-effectively.
They also tend to be rigid in applying scientific information
so that it is difficult to address competing social values in
a collaborative planning process. Our research team recently developed
a conceptual framework to rectify these limitations (Machado
et al. 2003). The specific objective of this mission-related
proposal is to implement this framework by developing GIS-based
methodology for all criteria for farmland conservation value and
improving the multicriteria evaluation methods for combining criteria
scores. The project addresses two USDA issues: 5) Agricultural
Opportunity and Rural Prosperity (threats to rural communities
and opportunities to preserve their character) and 6) Natural
Resources and Environmental Quality (maintaining ecosystem values
provided by agricultural lands). With guidance from an advisory
group, we will synthesize current understanding of the criteria
important to society and develop GIS-based procedures for converting
spatial data into criteria scores that represent that social value
and how it varies over the landscape. The advisory group will
ensure that the methodology balances best available science with
practicality for implementation. The project will produce tutorials
so that rural planners can apply the approach.
Project Brief (Updated April 13, 2007)
Davis, F. W., C. J. Costello and D. M. Stoms. 2006.
Efficient conservation in a utility-maximization framework. Ecology and Society 11: 33.
[online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art33/.
Machado, E. A., D. M. Stoms, F. W. Davis, and J. Kreitler. 2006.
Prioritizing farmland preservation cost-effectively for multiple objectives.
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 61: 250-258.