Step 6 Appraise he Alternatives Through Environmental Economic and Social Analysis

In this step, a number of studies are carried out. They refer first to individual combinations of land uses to which land units, classified as suitable, can be put and, second, to alternative combinations of land uses that are being considered in the plan. These proposed combinations can be considered as the alternatives among which the choices should be made. The following types of analyses are made:

• Environmental impact assessment. An assessment will help to determine what will happen under each alternative system of management in terms of the quality of the whole community. It also should consider effects both within and beyond the planning area. Examples of environmental considerations are soil and water resources, pasture and forest resources, quality of wildlife habitat, and scenic and recreational values.

• Financial analysis. This analysis considers the profitability from the point of view of the farmer or other private investor, by comparing the producers' revenues with their costs. The proposed land-use types should be profitable for the farmer or other land users.

• Economic analysis. This analysis estimates the value of a system of land use to the community as a whole. In addition, the monetary value of clear economic consequences of environmental effects can be estimated and included in the economic analysis. This also holds true for the unintended side-effects, such as damage done to the environment.

• Social impact. An assessment studies the effects of proposed changes on different groups of people. Examples of social factors are population, basic needs of the people, employment and income opportunities, land tenure and customary rights, administrative structure and legislation, and community stability.

• Strategic planning. A strategic study will help to determine how the proposed changes in land use affect wider aspects of rural development planning, including national goals. The critical importance of land for specified uses has to be clear. This means that, besides the economic and physical suitability, the use of a specific area in a particular way has to be taken into account.

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