Land use optimization for sustainable development of mountain regions of western Serbia
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This study analyses the possibilities for optimal land use structure in mountainous areas of rural Serbia, which is faced with problems such as unfavorable terrain characteristics and inadequate land use patterns causing economic underdevelopment and increasing population migration. In the case of a small privately owned farm in Western Serbia, optimal land use pattern is determined using the linear programming model. The objective function-cost-effectiveness or soil erosion reduction, as well as constraints, are formulated using the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) for a 15-year production period and soil losses data calculated using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). The best results are achieved using the scenario with the aim to minimize soil erosion, considering the BCR in the constraints. This scenario is proposed since it was registered that the benefit for landowners would increase by five times, while the losses of land would decline about 80%. The sensitivity analysis of investments is performed to check whether the price variation affects the cost-effectiveness of proposed land use. Results show that market changes (nine cases are considered) do not lead to significant changes in land use allocation. Proposed land use pattern improves the environmental condition, strengthens the rural economy and thus offers the greatest potential for sustainable development of mountainous rural areas.
KeywordsCost-benefit analysis Linear programming Land use optimization Mountain region Soil erosion
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This paper is a part of the Project No. 43007, subproject No.16 funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.
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