Step 4 Identify Opportunities for Change

In this step, possible ways to solve or ameliorate the problems analyzed in step 3 are formulated. All possibilities should be included in this step; then, the most promising and most feasible solutions should be analyzed further. When making a range of options for solving the problems, possible changes include

• People. They can contribute labor, skills, and culture. Cooperation of the people in the planning area is necessary for success of the land-use plan.

• Land resources. Regions may be underdeveloped, or resources may be unexploited. Land often has the ability to produce more or new crops with a change in management. Also new crops or land-use systems can be implemented to improve the current situation.

• Technology. New or improved technologies can increase production, e.g., new fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation and drainage techniques.

• Economic measures. New sources of capital, new or improved markets, changes to price structures, or improvement of transport and communications may offer opportunities for change.

• Government action. Possibilities include reform of land tenure and administrative structure, taxation policies, pricing policies, subsidies, and investment.

Not all of the above mentioned solutions are part of land-use planning, but they make it possible to isolate problems that can be better solved through other means of action. Also, different land-use strategies can be followed: no change, maximum production, minimum investment, maximum conservation, or maximum equity. Options for solving problems also can be generated in terms of different kinds of production, the role of conservation, and self-reliance versus external investment. What is important when designing the solutions is to keep all interested parties informed and to seek their views.

When all possibilities have been identified, realistic options that best meet the needs of production, conservation, and sustainability and that minimize conflicts in land use can be developed. The number of options can be limited by social imperatives, budgetary and administrative constraints, the demands of competing land uses, and an initial assessment of land suitability.

The problem statements and the alternatives for change should be presented in terms suitable for public and executive discussion: clear, brief summaries but with detailed evidence available for scrutiny. Now, the question is whether the original goals still appear to be attainable. If this is the case, the decision has to be made about which problems are to be given priority and which are the most promising alternatives for a feasibility study. It is possible that action is needed at other levels of land-use planning or outside the scope of land-use planning. After making these decisions, targets for this subsequent work must be specified. Subsequent steps may be more specifically planned than before. This is in fact a partial reiteration of step 2. It also could be necessary to prepare an additional or a revised budget and time schedule.

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