Prioritizing farmland preservation cost-effectively for multiple objectives

TitlePrioritizing farmland preservation cost-effectively for multiple objectives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMachado, EA, Stoms, DM, Davis, FW, Kreitler, J
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Date Published2006
Keywordsamenities, Bay Delta bioregion, California Legacy Project, conservation planning, cost-effectiveness, decision analysis, ecosystem services, farmland preservation, GIS, marginal value, public preferences, social welfare, urban growth boundary, urban growth management, utility

American society derives many benefits from farmland and is often willing to pay to preserve it from urbanization. We present an innovative framework to support farmland preservation programs in prioritizing conservation investments. The framework considers the full range of social benefits of farmland and improves the application of decision analysis methods to the process. Key factors for ranking farms are: 1) social objectives and priorities 2) how much farmland value is expected to be lost to development if not preserved, 3) how much farmland value is already secured in the agricultural region; and 4) how much it will cost to secure the farm's benefits. The framework can be applied strategically over an entire region or to rank a set of applications from landowners. We demonstrate our framework using three criteria in the Bay Area/Delta bioregion of California, USA.

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