The Use of land evaluation information by land use planners and decision-makers; a case study in Santa Catarina, Brazil

I.L.Z. Bacic, D.G. Rossiter, A.K. Bregt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Land evaluation is the prediction of land performance over time under specific uses, to guide strategic land use decisions. Modern land evaluation has a 30 year history, yet the results have often been disappointing. Land users and planners have been reported to ignore land evaluations, perhaps reflecting poor quality, low relevance, or poor communication. To test the success of a large land evaluation exercise undertaken as part of micro-catchment project in Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil, we queried agricultural extensionists, considered as the primary land evaluation clients. We used a questionnaire with both structured and open questions, to determine their experiences with, and attitudes to, the current land evaluation method. The soil resource inventory and associated land evaluation had some usefulness, but were not in general used for their intended purpose, namely farm planning. This was mainly because they did not contain crucial information necessary to such planning in the actual context of the farmer taking decisions. The primary deficiencies were identified as: (1) no estimate of environmental degradation risk; (2) no financial analysis; (3) no social analysis of decision-makers' attitudes and preferences; (4) no risk assessment for weather, yields, profits and market; and (5) insufficiently-specific alternative land uses. These deficiencies could have been avoided with a demand-driven approach, evaluating and reporting according to the true needs and opportunities of the decision-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
JournalSoil Use and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • land evaluation
  • land use planning
  • decision making
  • brazil
  • soil science
  • framework

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