Economic Evaluation of Farmland Conversion and Fragmentation in Alberta
This project provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of conversion and fragmentation of agricultural land in Alberta. The project has documented changes in conversion and fragmentation, spatial patterns of those changes, spillovers of changes in one jurisdiction on neighbouring jurisdictions, economic drivers of those changes, and links between fragmentation and conversion. Research was conducted for the agricultural (white) zone of Alberta, the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor area, and the Capital Region.
In the Edmonton-Calgary corridor area, the project has shown that urban areas expanded by about 1600 km2 between 1984 and 2013, a 50% increase in area. The rate of expansion was higher between 1984 and 1992 than between 1992 and 2001 or between 2001 and 2013. Most of the expansion came at the cost of loss of high quality agricultural land. Areas nearest to Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer became considerably more fragmented between 2001 and 2012, although rest of the agricultural zone became less fragmented over the same period. In that period, there was considerably more conversion around Edmonton than around Calgary.
The project has also generated insights into some of the consequences of those changes. Farmland prices between 1998 and 2014 show that conversion pressure has strong effects on farmland prices. Prices are highest in areas closest to the major cities and the Queen Elizabeth Highway. Residents in the Alberta Capital Region show concern about the rate of conversion and 80% would be willing to pay to farmland in the area.
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.
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.