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Review of land evaluation methods for quantifying natural constraints to agriculture

Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT


This report provides an overview of selected land evaluation methods for quantifying natural constraints to agriculture. It has been compiled for decision-makers with no specialised knowledge of land evaluations and the aim is to give an overview of methods and soil and climate criteria, which are applied for classifying areas less favourable for agriculture in Europe. The report is part of the Joint Research Centre's technical support to DG Agriculture and Rural Development in their preparatory work to find a new definition for classifying the EU Other/intermediate Less Favoured Areas to be implemented after 2010. The report includes standardised descriptions of selected land evaluation methods known internationally, namely: The Land Capability Classification, The Framework for Land Evaluation, the Agro-ecological Zoning Methodology, the Agricultural Problem Land Approach and the Expert System for Constraints to Agricultural Production in Europe. Criteria used in these methods and examples of applications and results are included, with preferences to applications on the European level. An overview of land evaluation methods and criteria, which are currently applied for indicating low land productivity by the Member States for their classification of the Other Less Favoured Areas are included. Finally, a summary of the reviewed methods and criteria and a discussion of issues of importance in the ongoing work on identifying common biophysical criteria for the Other Less Favoured Areas are provided. The report is aimed to be a base for DG Agriculture and Rural Development in their consultation with Member States and future networks of scientists involved in the progress of classifying the Other Less Favoured Areas from biophysical criteria, seen as natural handicaps to agriculture.

Additional information

Authors: ELIASSON A, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 22923 EN (2007), 51 pp. Free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: LB-NA-22923-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 978-92-79-06946-8
Record Number: 200910446 / Last updated on: 2009-10-12
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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