In the beginning, the United States was once a vast frontier stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean providing ample room for all people. Native Americans believed in communal land stewardship while European settlers demanded individual property rights. During the formulative years of our Nation, the rights of land owners to exercise broad control of the use of their land was implicitly advocated by governmental leaders. In eastern United States we now see the pattern of land ownership increasing farm size, originally stemming from subsistence farms notched out of the wilderness. In the West, ownership of land had a different beginning because of large land grants created by other governments. Today, farm sizes and land ownership in the West range from tens of thousands of hectares to only a small fraction of a hectare.
Land is many things to many people. Its ownership is divided among various public and private sectors. Some of it is used for food production while some is used for housing, transportation, recreation, and aesthetic enjoyment. Many land use decisions are made by private land managers within public policies. The increasing level of public and private sector interest in land use planning argues in favor of the development of more successful policy instruments to strike an appropriate balance between land used for food production and that for living space and environmental quality. This volume represents a continued effort of agronomists and soil scientists to provide biologically- and physically-based information to further the development of those policy instruments.
We express appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Fred P. Miller, Chairman, and his editorial committee, Drs. Edward L. Skidmore, David Lewis, and Donald M. Bandel. We acknowledge and thank the authors' for their contributions, and the help of society members who reviewed manuscripts. The editorial and production efforts of the Headquarters' staff required for this Special Publication are gratefully acknowledged.
Donald R. Nielsen
At the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy in Columbus, Ohio, in November 1965, a symposium on land use planning was co-sponsored with the American Society of Planning Officials and the Soil Science Society of America. The 19 papers prepared from this meeting were published the following year by the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy (Bartelli et al., ed., Soil Surveys and Land Use Planning). Drs. Richards and Pearson, the then-presidents of the two societies, respectively, wrote in the preface to this book that “land use planning is an expression that we shall be hearing more often in the future”.
Indeed, this prophecy has proven correct. The discipline of soil science has expanded into many areas of land use planning and environmental issues over the last decade. Soil scientists and agronomists are faced with an ever-broadening spectrum of land use-related problems and issues where their expertise is solicited. We find ourselves subpoenaed into the courts to provide expert opinions on various components of contested land use decisions. Forensic agronomy and soil science, while in its fledgling stage, is likely to grow. Land use planners and policymakers solicit our opinions. Some soil scientists and agronomists are now as familiar with the halls of the legislature and hearing rooms of planning and regulatory agencies as they are with the landscapes they evaluate.
Nearly a decade and a half after the 1965 land use symposium, the three societies published a monograph on “Planning the Uses and Management of Land” (M. T. Beatty, et al., ed., ASA Monograph No. 21, 1979). This publication provided a state-of-the-art with respect to our disciplines. Discussions have taken place within the societies regarding the establishment of a new land use division or the expansion of the current land use division to accommodate a broader range of topics. These discussions and the publications resulting from various land use symposia are symptomatic of the growing pains a discipline experiences as it expands or is pulled into new areas. The symposium from which the papers in this publication were derived is another step in the process of involving ourselves in land use planning and policies.
This publication contains eight papers presented at a symposium on land use planning techniques and policies organized and co-sponsored by Div. S5, S6, A1, and A2 at the 1981 ASA annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. These papers focus on both the broad aspects of land use and specific policies, management strategies, and concerns. This collection of papers provides a perspective of some of the land use issues, opportunities, and concerns before us as we proceed through the decade of the 1980's. To be sure, we will continue to deal with land use planning and policies in the future.
Fred P. Miller, Chairman
Edward L. Skidmore
Donald M. Bandel