Sustainable Use of Land

Planning for sustainable use of land
"people are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature" (Rio declaration)
An integrated approach to planning the use and management of land resources entails the involvement of all stakeholders in the process of decision making on the future of the land, and the identification and evaluation of all biophysical and socio-economic attributes of land units. This requires the identification and establishment of a use or non-use of each land unit that is technically appropriate, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally non-degrading.
A purely sectoral approach to the planning of land resources should be avoided, as this may lead to their irreversible degradation. Concern about the environment has been highlighted by the recent rapid growth of the world's human population, the increasing socio-economic interdependence of countries and regions, the growing awareness of the value of natural ecosystems, and the perception that current land use practices may influence the global climatic system. An integrated rather than sectoral approach is a means to prevent or resolve conflicts related to land and water use, as it optimizes the planning process and creates an enabling environment for mediation between, and decision making by, all stakeholders at early stages.
The medium, or most likely, projection of population growth implies a near doubling of world population to about 10 thousand million by the year 2050 (UNFPA, 1992). Most experts agree that through full and judicious application of modern agricultural technology, the world's land resources can, in theory, provide sufficient food, fibre, animal feed, biofuel and timber for such a doubling. In practice, there will be acute land shortages in many countries, especially many developing ones.
A recent FAO study (Alexandratos, 1995) estimates that 92% of the 1800 million ha of land in developing countries (excluding China) with...