The Landscape Guide

Landscape PLANNING:   Definitions   Planning  Agriculture  Context theory   Cycling   EID   Forestry   Green Towns   Greenways   Landscape plans   Minerals   Parks  POS   Reservoirs   Rivers   Sustainability   Transport   Urbanisation  Books on landscape planning Links

Landscape planning for agriculture

Agriculture Policy

Agriculture should be subject to planning control and all agricultural subsidies should be linked to the provision of public goods:

  • a strategic reserve, for food production
  • greenways
  • high-quality 'hand made food' and 'wild food'
  • the creation of new wildlife habitats
  • recreational opportunities
  • the enhancement of scenery
  • additional tree cover
  • the reclamation of rivers
  • the conservation of farm walls, buildings and other historic features

The next generation of agricultural consultants will need to know as much about public goods as about agriculture.

Public goods: The landscape planning principles which will be considered in relation to agriculture may be summarised as follows:

  1. Landscapes should be planned from different points of view. These will include those of landowners and different sections of the public, as discussed in Chapter 1. 
  2. Public landscape planning should focus on public goods, especially recreation, scenic quality and nature conservation, as discussed in Chapter 2.
  3.  Plans must be adjusted to contexts. This may require zoning plans and Environmental Impact Design  plans, as discussed in Chapter 3.

Different sets of public goods will be produced from poor land (category A), medium land (category B) and rich land (category C)

Strategic reserve: The history of agriculture is characterised by alternating periods of shortage and surplus.

Water conservation: The countryside can play a major role in conserving fresh water.

Habitat creation and conservation: The agricultural landscape should provide a diverse range of habitats for wild plants and animals.

Historic conservation: Farmland is the result of untold centuries of work.

Scenic conservation and enhancement: The farming landscape should be conserved AND improved.

Conservation farming: Historic farmland can produce high-value 'hand-made' food.

Recreation: There is a great demand for rural recreation, for which the public is willing to pay.

In times of glut, it should be done for non-agricultural reasons.

Wild Food: Increasing the production of unfarmed food should become an objectives in countryside planning.

Healthy food: Producing low-quality food produces a low-quality landscape.

The geography of public goods: There is a geographical variation in the range of public goods which can and should be obtained from the countryside.

Mapping: Rural land needs to be mapped in many ways.

Implementation: The supply of public goods from agricultural land can be encouraged by zoning regulations, tax incentives, land re-organisation, acquisition of easements and land purchase.

Conclusion: If public money is spent on agriculture, it should be to obtain specified public goods.


Neher, D. 1992. Ecological sustainability in agricultural systems: definition and measurement. In Olson R.K. (ed) Integrating sustainable agriculture, ecology and environmental policy. Binghampton, New York:The Haworth Press. pp51-61
Turner, T., Landscape planning and environmental impact design UCL 1998 Chapter 7

Fields and mountains

Farming and fishing