Systems Approach to Exploratory Analysis of Agricultural Land Use Options in Ilocos Norte, Philippines



Increasing population in urban and rural areas continues to exert pressure on land and water resources through changing land use, intensive and extensive agricultural production systems, land conversion, and rapid urbanization. These changes transform the spatial and temporal distribution of the quantity and quality of natural resources which threatens sustainable agricultural development. An objective and efficient optimal allocation and management of these natural resources is required to ensure sustainability. Major advances have been made in recent years on the use of models or decision support systems for natural resources management. Systems research tools such as dynamic simulation models, geographic information systems (GIS), optimization technique and databases, which are in the past being used separately in various practical applications are now integrated as a management decision tool to explore alternative natural resources use and management options. Multiple goal analysis provides the framework in which land and water resources management is approached as a multi-objective optimization problem where development and management priorities and agenda including the biophysical as well socio-economic and institutional constraints and the requirements for environment conservation are identified and quantified. The procedure also provides a framework for dialogue and negotiations among various stakeholders such as policy and decision makers, development planners, and representatives of different administrative hierarchies (e.g. region, province, district and village). This paper presents a systems research framework for exploratory analysis of agricultural land use options and its application to regional (provincial) agricultural land use planning in a province in northwestern Philippines as a case study. The framework for modeling as an multiple goal linear programming problem is presented, and the important components are discussed. Achievements of target values defined for certain objective functions and goals associated with some possible resource allocation options and corresponding tradeoffs are described.

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