Economic Evaluation of Farmland Conversion and Fragmentation in Alberta

Overview

This three-year project focuses on the economics of fragmentation and conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses in Alberta. The objective of the research is to assess and quantify the economic impacts and implications of land fragmentation and conversion for policy and planning.

To engage with this complex issue, the project team is conducting four related studies that focus either on the province as a whole, or on two areas within the province: the Capital Region around Edmonton, and the Highway 2 corridor linking Edmonton and Calgary.

The first study makes use of Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling and remote sensing analysis to identify patterns of land use and land use change over time, with the results informing the other projects.

The second study undertakes an economic analysis to identify factors (relating to both ownership and policy) that impact conversion in both the province as a whole, and in the specific study sites.

The third study uses statistical techniques to examine the economic relationships between conversion and a variety of influencing factors, including land values.

Finally, the fourth study defines and evaluates the public values associated with, and the public interest in, goods and services associated with the lands in the Capital Region.

Taken together, the results from the four studies will be used to identify how current policies impact the level and rate of conversion and fragmentation, and to identify policy and planning options that may assist in future management of fragmentation and conversion in Alberta.

Research Team

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Dr. Scott Jeffrey, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta.

Dr. Brent Swallow, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta.

CO-INVESTIGATORS

Dr. Feng Qiu, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta.

Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta.