Sustainability Land Use and the Environment

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Over the last three decades, the country has made impressive gains on socioeconomic, environmental and rural development policy fronts. One such contradiction is given by disparities in rural credit and finance policies, with greater amounts favoring large-scale farming as opposed to family farming, despite the key role of smallholders in food production and job creation, and still low resources allocated to programs promoting low-carbon agricultural practices. Another contradiction is the dichotomy between climate change policies and mainstream agricultural and rural development policies.

Sustainable land management - Wikipedia

The question is what measures can be put in place to enable continued growth of agricultural production while also reducing its negative social and environmental costs? The answer lies partly in increasing support for implementing and up-scaling initiatives to promote low emissions agriculture and providing other economic incentives for adopting more sustainable use and conservation-oriented agricultural and land-use practices.

Alife cycle approach to sustainable development applies to all phases and components of land use activity. This chapter outlines the four phases of a typical development. Questions are asked to assist the proponent in applying sustainable development before, during and after development activities. Through early identification of potential issues, proponents can avoid or reduce adverse social and environmental impacts. The following points, among others, should be considered during the project planning and design phase:.

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Gather background information about the area proposed for development. Find out if opportunities or problems exist that might affect the project. As soon as possible, inform anyone who may be affected by the project. Develop an awareness of the area and be willing to respond to the needs of those potentially affected by the development.

Early communication with regulators and other affected parties will assist in identifying issues that need to be addressed in the development plans. Based on the information gathered, decide if the project should proceed, if you need additional information or if components of the project should be re-examined. Identify which development options might meet project needs. Weigh the best options by considering the purpose and scale of the project. Issues to consider include potential environmental impacts, interests of affected parties, project requirements, engineering requirements, long-term use of the site and cost.

Outline a plan for site development, operation and closure. This plan will be useful for permit application and later steps. Usually a proposed site is identified in the permit application.

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This site may need to be relocated somewhat as the project proceeds. The location may be changed based on more detailed information about the environment, cost and interests of affected parties. Depending on permit terms, consultation with potentially affected parties may be required concerning sensitive features, timing of construction, materials and other matters.

Even when not required, consultation helps improve the viability of a proposed project. As the planning process proceeds, changes to the project may be necessary. Approaches to minimize and avoid potential impacts need to be developed and reviewed. An environmental management system that includes sound land use guidelines should be incorporated into the project plans. These guidelines should be developed using qualified experts, local research and traditional knowledge as appropriate. Identify all permit requirements for the project. Prepare and apply for those needed to initiate the project.

Consider the permit review and approval process and develop the project schedule accordingly. The proponent is responsible for obeying all laws as they apply to the design, construction, operation and closure of the project. Based on the principles of sustainable development, the following points should be considered before and during project construction:.

Develop detailed engineering and construction plans as required. Preparation of such plans typically requires qualified technical and engineering expertise. These plans should address the specific environmental and construction issues identified during Phase 1. The site should be properly identified and assessed before construction begins. Specific activities will vary according to the project's purpose and objective, terrain conditions, local weather conditions and permit requirements. The proponent is responsible for ensuring that all permit requirements are met during and following the construction phase.

For example, the permit may specify that use of the development may not begin until operating approvals have been granted.

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Inspections by regulators are likely to take place during and following the construction period. Long-term use, maintenance and management plans should be developed before the project is actually constructed. It is the proponent's responsibility to ensure that these plans are implemented. Sound maintenance programs and regular inspections of projects in the North are critical for environmental, safety and economic reasons. Preventative maintenance programs reduce negative environmental and social effects and project costs. In conjunction with such programs, establishing a general and flexible maintenance plan before project start-up will allow for maintenance on an as-needed basis.

A regular monitoring program will help identify potential problem areas early. Generally, resolving a problem at an early stage is significantly more cost effective than trying to fix the problem once it has reached the impact stage.

Sustainable Land Use

If problems recur, it may be necessary to return to the design stage to determine if there is a better, lower maintenance solution. By thoroughly thinking through and planning development activities before construction begins, unnecessary hurdles may be avoided during the abandonment and reclamation phase. Potential environmental and social concerns are more easily addressed through avoidance, minimization or mitigation.

It is possible to carry out development activities in a profitable manner that also addresses environmental and social aspects. Project proponents are responsible for abandonment of project facilities and successful reclamation of the site. It may be necessary to submit abandonment plans before a Land Use Permit will be issued.

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By considering abandonment and reclamation from the project's conception, this phase can be much more effective and cost efficient. Abandonment and reclamation activities will vary according to site location and the land manager's requirements. These activities should be carried out during the appropriate season and in the proper sequence. Inspection, approval and closure of the site will depend upon diligent effort at this stage. In undertaking land use activities in northern landscapes, proponents are often faced with complex technical tasks. As a result, some regulatory requirements and planning aspects may receive less attention than they warrant.

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Before spending large amounts of money on necessary technical studies, proponents should consider the following general questions:. Addressing these questions before undertaking detailed studies may result in substantial savings. By considering what major hurdles are likely to be encountered, proponents can save significant effort as the project proceeds. By preparing a preliminary proposal for public review, major hurdles will become more apparent. Working closely with regulators, community groups and other affected parties typically results in better project definition, better project support and increased savings.

Unique community needs cannot be addressed in a generic national strategy. And, because the community is at the heart of decision-making, a community-based approach is key to sustainable development. In northern Canada, communities are very close knit. Individuals often serve in several leadership roles. One northern expression suggests that "there are no secrets north of Gaining community support goes beyond meeting with a municipal or band council.

An ongoing forum for sharing information, ideas and concerns is needed to ensure that the purpose of the proposal and of the dialogue is clear. Proponents need to address a wide range of objectives in response to a variety of decision makers, affected parties and interests. First Nations now have substantial decisionmaking authority. For example, certain landclaim agreements may require that benefit agreements with First Nations be negotiated as part of the development process.

In understanding that traditional knowledge may influence proposal design, proponents must determine how best to gain this knowledge. By building this time into the project schedule, the timing of other activities may be delayed. Understanding and accepting these requirements will reduce the potential for frustration and miscommunication at a later, more essential stage.

An approved land use plan will provide an initial set of goals, objectives and guidelines hopefully with some spatial definition against which project activities can be compared. When plans are under way but not approved, the planning process provides proponents with ready access to a wealth of relevant information on. In many cases, proponents are required by law to conduct an environmental impact assessment for all components of potential projects before commencing development.

The purpose of the assessment is to identify environmental effects of development activities and determine the significance of these effects. Following the assessment, mitigation measures may be proposed that will be implemented to reduce or avoid impacts. Development of monitoring programs is also part of the assessment. Environmental impact assessments are often expensive. The initial "scoping" phase typically highlights issues that require attention. Splitting the scoping phase, and allowing longer review time on the range of issues, may provide the proponent with a higher degree of confidence that the most significant issues will have been identified before proceeding with the full assessment.

Cumulative effects are "effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out. Gaining an understanding of other existing and proposed projects, and their effects, will give proponents a broader perspective. This insight may result in alteration of the project proposal, as well as the proponent's intended operational practices. Understanding current standards practised by industry will assist with project design.

Best practices refer to those life cycle methods planning, construction, operation and abandonment that go beyond regulatory requirements and industry norms. Project comparison is a common assessment method followed by regulators and communities. By demonstrating that the full life cycle of benefits and effects has been considered, proponents are more likely to be successful in their efforts to convince regulators and communities that their project will be of benefit to the region. Current practices typically require a security deposit, or contingency fund, if a project has any likelihood of being abandoned without reclamation by a bankrupt operator.

Ongoing reclamation efforts are also encouraged as a means of avoiding "orphaned" sites. Auditor General Act R. A , Canadian International Development Agency. Conklin, D. Hodgson and E. Sustainable Development: A Manager's Handbook. Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, Volume I. Volume II , Part 4. Our Goal: We will support the building of sustainable, healthy and diverse communities through planning policies and decisions that are developed and made in a transparent, open and accessible manner.

Strategic Directions: Encourage land use planning that protects the unique urban and rural charms of our communities and balances the rural-urban interface. Support the creation of pedestrian-oriented communities that encompass all elements we need within our community. Encourage sustainable land use that considers the net environmental impacts. Place priority on brownfield redevelopment before greenfield development.

Integrate current and future strategic and master plans with the Sustainable Peterborough Plan. Priority Action: Develop and implement neighbourhood design guidelines that ensure equal opportunities for all — including pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation, and automobiles — relevant to both urban and rural areas. admin