Gather initial information that will be helpful for your planning process:
Gather land cover map(s), to identify the most prevalent types of natural ecosystems and land uses in your area of interest. Which are the main crops produced? Are there critical ecosystems? What is the area covered with forests?
Gather initial data on the main land uses in your area of interest: productivity, cost, etc. You may use the Land-use Planner data portal to complement your own data.
Sketch a stakeholder map, to identify the different groups of actors who should be involved in the planning discussions. In doing so, they will also help to improve all data entered in your Land-use Planner simulations.
Conduct initial interviews with key actors to understand stakeholders’ priorities for the future of their area. In doing so, identify possible points of divergence or consensus that will be helpful when discussing and developing land-use scenarios for the Land-use Planner.
The first step is to describe the general characteristics of your area of interest: its size, its population and demographic dynamics, the type of natural environment, the local currency and the simulation period you wish to use.
What is your planning area? An entire region, a project area? How many people live there and what is the demographic trend? What is your planning time span, perhaps 20 or 30 years? These are some of the initial questions that need to be clarified at step 1.
The second step is to capture the main land uses that exist presently, or at the beginning of the simulation period. You account here for the benefits and costs associated with different types of forests, annual and perennial crops, livestock production models and other uses of the land.
How much area is used for the production of the stable crops? What is the productivity? What are the production costs, the labour force needed? To gather information on the economic, ecological and social value of each land use, you may start with the Land-use Planner data portal to find initial proxy data for specific land uses. You can then adjust this data to your context through interviews with local experts or field surveys, using the data collection worksheets.
The third step is where you start looking towards the future. While in the preceding stages you needed to define the initial condition of your area, here you can plan for development trajectories based on various land use changes.
There could be a wide range of scenarios: continuation of current trends, planned gradual changes, or even complete disruption. What are the aspirations of stakeholders? What are the emerging agricultural markets and strategic sectors going towards? How will basic needs be satisfied? How will natural resources be managed? Learn how to develop land use scenarios in a participatory way.
The fourth and final step of the Land-use Planner is to visualise the expected economic, social and environmental effects of each scenario. The diversity of indicators available will allow you to assess the impact of your scenarios from different points of view.
Is the scenario that looks the most profitable also attractive from the perspective of employment and food security? Which stakeholder group obtains the most important benefits? What happens if the prices of key products change? Shall we adjust our planning priorities to seek better results?