Farmland Preservation

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Wherever conversion to urban development is more lucrative than the income from farming, agricultural land is in danger of losing out—unless special public policies are installed. This almost-axiomatic conflict means that farmland preservation is a concern of every industrialized country. Beyond the shared characteristics among advanced-economy countries, there are significant differences in the specific goals and means for farmland preservation and in the degree of success achieved. Farmland preservation tools can be divided into three main types: direct control of land-use conversion from farming to non-farming use; intervention in the economics of conversion; and tools based on property-rights. But achieving effective preservation is apparently much more complex and elusive than simply selecting from among the set of tools outlined above. While focusing more on the USA, this article takes a cross-national view of farmland preservation goals, means, and outcomes in six advanced-economy countries.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
EditorsNeil J. Smelser, Paul B. Baltes
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2001


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