Collaborative geodesign and spatial optimization for fragmentation-free land allocation

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ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, ISSN: 2220-9964, Vol: 6, Issue: 7, Page: 226

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Xie, Yiqun; Runck, Bryan; Shekhar, Shashi; Kne, Len; Mulla, David; Jordan, Nicolas; Wiringa, Peter
Social Sciences; Earth and Planetary Sciences
article description
Demand for agricultural food production is projected to increase dramatically in the coming decades, putting at risk our clean water supply and prospects for sustainable development. Fragmentation-free land allocation (FF-LA) aims to improve returns on ecosystem services by determining both space partitioning of a study area and choice of land-use/land-cover management practice (LMP) for each partition under a budget constraint. In the context of large-scale industrialized food production, fragmentation (e.g., tiny LMP patches) discourages the use of modern farm equipment (e.g., 10- to 20-m-wide combine harvesters) and must be avoided in the allocation. FF-LA is a computationally challenging NP-hard problem. We introduce three frameworks for land allocation planning, namely collaborative geodesign, spatial optimization and a hybrid model of the two, to help stakeholders resolve the dilemma between increasing food production capacity and improving water quality. A detailed case study is carried out at the Seven Mile Creek watershed in the midwestern US. The results show the challenges of generating near-optimal solutions through collaborative geodesign, and the potential benefits of spatial optimization in assisting the decision-making process.