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A Systemic Approach to Scoping of Factors Influencing More Sustainable Land Use in Herefordshire

Morris, D   Oreszczyn, S   Blackmore, C   Ison, R   Martin, S

Local Environment   11 (6) 683-699

January 2007

Defining and putting into practice sustainable land use is a complex, systemic problem. Systems models and techniques were used in a study of Herefordshire to clarify the situation and identify the potential for a more locally focused, learning-based approach to land use.

Issues included: (i) uncertainty about the boundary of a 'system of sustainable Herefordshire land use'; (ii) the complexity of economic flows in the county and the absence of some critical data; (iii) the importance of the Herefordshire landscape to tourism and the role of agriculture as a determinant of the state of that landscape; (iv) weakness of the institutional linkage between tourism and agriculture; (v) the current lack of inclusion of many relevant stakeholders in concerted action.

Factors favouring a learning approach included a strong local identity, local food-related developments, and educational initiatives. Barriers to such an approach included questions of power and landholding, government policies, and attitudes and skills within organizations. These findings are considered in relation to the wider debate over approaches to sustainability.