, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 501-511

First online:

North American farmland protection strategies in retrospect

  • Bryant C. R. Affiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Waterloo
  • , Russwurm L. H. Affiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Waterloo

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The arenas in which farmland protection strategies have developed in North America vary in terms of perceptions of the farmland resource and the role of planning, and in terms of administrative structures. Administratively, farmland protection strategies have developed in a variety of structures, ranging from the very decentralized ones of many US states to the more centralized, though still mixed, ones found in some Canadian provinces. Farmland protection strategies can thus be investigated in terms of how they address a variety of fundamental issues. Difficult questions are raised by policy evaluation, e.g. are objectives coherent, how do objectives relate to goals and objectives for other land uses and what would have happened in the absence of the program? It is argued that, while it is essential to encourage more analyses of how results, e.g. farmland removal rates, relate to stated objectives, it is equally important to study the decision-making process of implementation to establish both stated and implied objectives and therefore how farmland protection strategies relate to the broader land use planning and management context for other land uses.