This step includes more than the title indicates. To start a planning process, the boundaries of the area for which the plan is to be made should be defined. After this is done the analysis of the present situation begins. Not all information needs to be very detailed, but it should give a basic idea of the situation, whether more detailed information is available, and where more information can be obtained. The basic information that is needed includes
• Land resources, i.e., climate, hydrology, geology, landforms, soils, vegetation, fauna, pests, and diseases;
• Present land use, i.e., farming systems, forestry, production levels, and trends;
• Infrastructure, i.e., transport, communication and services to agriculture, livestock management, and forestry;
• Population, i.e., numbers, demographic trends, location of settlements, the role of women, ethnic groups, class structure, leadership;
• Land tenure, i.e., legal and traditional ownership and user rights to land, trees, grazing, forest reserves, national parks;
• Social structure and traditional practices, because the current land use is a result of the history of the area and the culture of the people and when proposing changes, understanding of the current situation is a prerequisite;
• Government, i.e., administrative structure, the agencies that are involved in planning, and the laws and rules that exist;
• Nongovernmental organizations, i.e., farming and marketing cooperatives or others that may have a role in planning or implementing the land-use plan;
• Commercial organizations, i.e., companies that may be affected by the planning.
With the basic information, it becomes clear which (groups of) people can be affected by the land-use planning. All these people or their representatives should be contacted in order to make them aware of the upcoming changes and to obtain a view on the area and its problems from the inside.
Next, the goals of the land-use plan can be established. In Section 2.1.2, the different levels of goals are described. The goals meant here are the objectives of the land-use plan, for which the problems are to be solved. Sometimes it is necessary to establish the goals for the land-use plan, depending on the planning situation of a country or in the area. It can also be very useful to record the goals of the planning in the land-use plan because the goals may not have been recorded previously. Different planning agencies may have prepared different views for the development of the planning area. In the land-use plan, these different goals can be united. This helps to clarify the differences between the views and whether they are conflicting or not.
The terms of reference dictate the limits of the land-use plan. They state what may change, how it may change, and, more specifically sometimes, how it may not change. These limits may be legal, economic, institutional, social, or environmental. Specific conditions also can be included, such as the amount of nature areas in the plan or how much the local population average should benefit, or how much specific changes may cost. These may be derived from the goals set out by the different planning agencies. The total budget for the land-use plan and the implementation period (the length of time for which the plan will operate) are also terms of reference. The terms of reference limit the possible alternative land-use plans. If in the planning process the terms of reference are excluded, many options may be considered that are not feasible. To limit the number of alternatives and to save time when creating them, the terms of reference are described in the plan.
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