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Step 8. Prepare the land-use plan

At this point, a report is written which has two major functions:

• to present the plan that is now recommended, with reasons for the decisions taken - that is, to summarize the results from Steps 1 to 7;

• to prepare for implementation.

The preferred option for change must be put into a form in which it can be reviewed and, when approved, acted on A specific land-use plan, intended to be implemented as a development project, is the principal way of doing this. However, depending on the level and purposes of the planning study, the results may also be implemented as guidelines for priorities or by being incorporated into legislation, development budgets, agency programmes, management standards and extension programmes.

The following discussion relates mainly to results being incorporated into a specific land-use plan that is implemented as a development project.

Three elements in the plan that is now prepared are:

• What should be done? - the selected changes to land use and where they should be applied or recommended.

• How should it be done? - logistics, costs and timing.

• Reasons for the decisions taken.

Preparation of maps

Land-use planning is critically concerned with what should be done, where. The planning procedure so far has been based on the fact that land conditions are highly variable and so land-use types that will be sustainable and economically viable on one land unit will fail, in either or both of these respects, on other kinds of land. Hence, maps form a key element in the presentation of results.

Several sets of maps have been prepared as part of the planning procedure: base maps, summaries of available data and possibly maps based on original surveys (Steps 3 and 5); land suitability maps (Step 5); and allocations or recommendations of land use to areas of land (Step 7). These are now drawn up and printed so that they can be used as a basis for implementation and revision.

These maps will be used in the field and in the office by a variety of people - executive, technical and administrative. For the maps to be useful, the following points should be observed:

• The base-map detail (roads, tracks, settlements, administrative boundaries) should be clear; users will constantly need to find where they are and what should be done, where.

• At the same time, the features shown in the maps (e.g. land-use types, soils, water resources) should be easy to see; a good quality of cartography, normally using colour, is essential.

• The legend (key) must be an integral part of the maps.

• The maps should be printed in sufficient quantities to supply all implementing agencies with copies for several years.

Maps are in no way a supplementary part of the report. On the contrary, it may be nearer the truth to say that the text supplements the maps, although they in fact complement each other. The map showing land-use allocations and recommendations is the focal point of the land-use plan

Writing the plan

The first need is to set out, in summary form and then in more detail, the land-use allocations or recommendations that were selected in Step 7. In this initial presentation, under a heading such as "Land-use recommendations", set out the selected option, without confusing the reader by references to rejected alternatives. This part of the text will be read by those who need to know what is to be done next. An important part is a description of the selected land-use types, including their management specifications and the land units for which they are recommended.

Figure 13: Mapping development possibilities (Kaduna Plains, Nigeria)

Source: Hill (1979).

Type of development

Summary definition of development

1. Integrated agriculture

(a) In densely

Establishment of integrated agricultural development projects aimed at increasing. existing agricultural production per hectare by improving infrastructure (communications, supply of agricultural inputs, produce marketing, credit facilities and extension service coverage). Run by a semi-autonomous project authority, making use of self-help wherever possible. Allied to general improvement of social services.

(b) In sparsely cultivated areas

As above but also able to increase production by increasing the area under cultivation and/or introducing "mixed farming".

2. Mechanized farming

Establishment of large mechanized farms (>1000 ha), requiring a high level of management expertise and mechanization of all stages of production from land preparation to harvest. Good planning and adequate conservation measures are essential. Limited to sparsely cultivated areas.

3. Traditional grazing

Improvement of traditional grazing, including control of stock numbers, the elimination of unregulated burning and the introduction of forage species into natural grassland. These measures, together with the establishment of grazing reserves and the allocation of grazing rights, are components of a suggested programme to be organized at the interstate level. Limited to sparsely cultivated areas.

4. Grazing reserves

Establishment of reserves in the major traditional wet and dry-season grazing areas and along migration routes, with additional reserves within areas freed or being freed by the tsetse eradication programme. Provision of adequate water supplies, veterinary services and improved natural grassland coupled with strict control of stock numbers. Limited to sparsely cultivated areas.

5. Cattle ranches and dairy farming

Establishment of ranches for "growing out" cattle drawn from Fulani herds. Stock numbers restricted to 2000 head until the viability of the ranch is established. Area not less than 2000 ha per 1000 head of cattle with 1200 ha for wet-season and early dry season grazing and 800 ha for fodder grass to provide additional dry-season roughage Supplementary dry season feeding by cottonseed. cottonseed cake, groundnut cake. brewer's grains or molasses as available. Limited to sparsely cultivated areas.
Establishment of dairy herds of not more than 100 milking cows. Total area not less than 250 ha with 130 ha improved pastures for wet- and early dry-season grazing and 50 ha to provide additional dry-season feed, supplemented by locally available concentrates and crop residues

6/7. Production forestry

6 Development for production of timber

Development financed and managed by government and covering a few to 100 ha in one location, usually for sawn timber production for local use Alternatively, run by a commercial company at a minimum annual planting rate of 400 ha for sawn timber or pulp Confined to forest reserves

7. Development for production of fuelwood and poles

(a) Production by state and federal departments in forest reserves

(b) Production by farmers on small woodlots, backed by extension service

(c) Extraction from areas of natural vegetation in forest reserves.

8. Protection forestry: reservation to protect areas against erosion or strict conservation measures

Protection of existing and establishment of new forest reserves in areas with slopes greater than 10% (6) where conservation is required.

Protection required only in parts of the area

Following this, reasons for the choices and decisions made must be given, again both in outline and in some detail. These explanations are needed by funding agencies wishing to review the soundness of the proposals from technical, economic or other viewpoints. The basic data also constitute a baseline for future monitoring and revision of the plan. The more basic information available, the easier it becomes to revise the plan in the future (Step 10).

Logistic planning

The planner must next consider the practical details of implementing the plan: decide the means, assign responsibility for getting the job done and lay down a timetable for implementation. Set targets that are realistically obtainable, not based on optimism. It may be possible to use experience from previous development programmes to indicate the rate of change that can be achieved in practice. Certainly, the plan must be in accordance with what the people concerned are prepared to do.

Logistic planning is a wide-ranging process, calling for previous experience of similar projects. Some guidelines for tasks that need to be done are:

• Draw up a planning base map, showing areas chosen for development year by year. Tabulate these areas.

• Based on the above, itemize the needs for:

- land improvements;
- supporting services;
- physical infrastructure;
- credit and other internal financial services.

• On the same basis, together with the management specifications for land-use types, calculate the inputs needed, for example:

- seed/germplasm (crop cultivars, tree provenances);
- fertilizers, by type;
- pesticides;
- irrigation equipment.

• Plan priority land improvements, for example water storage and supply, roads, drains and other engineering works.

• Plan extension programmes and incentives.

• Identify who is to be responsible for which activity. In particular, junior staff must know what is expected of them and must be given adequate incentives.

• Ensure that there are adequate arrangements for financing staff costs, inputs and credit.

• Give particular attention to provision for maintenance of all capital works.

• Discuss the details of the arrangements with the decision-maker and relevant agency staff in terms of:

- feasibility and acceptability;
- availability of advisory staff;
- availability of logistic support;
- availability of supervision.

• Assess the need for staff training.

• Make the necessary arrangements for research, within the plan or through outside agencies.

• Establish a procedure for reviewing the plan's progress (Step 10).

Staffing, timing and costs

As one form of summary of the logistic planning, list the requirements for implementation in terms of:

• Staffing: specialists, technical staff, labour.

• Timing: the intended scheduling of changes, drawn up as tables.

• Costs: the finance needed to implement the plan, its scheduling year by year and proposed sources of funding.

• Financial control, including independent audit.

Format of the plan

One of the main difficulties in drafting a land-use plan is the wide range of readership that needs to be informed. This ranges from senior government ministers, who have time only to read outline summaries of what is to be d one, to technical staff responsible for implementation and the field extension staff who will have to apply the findings to local areas.

To meet the needs of these different users, it has frequently been found useful to divide the plan into the following sections:

Executive summary. Written for non-technical decision-makers; a summary of the land-use situation, its problems, the opportunities and the recommendations for action, i.e. the focal point. Reasons for decisions taken are given, but only briefly. Clear, concise writing is of the highest importance. This section should include at least one key map, the (master) land-use plan and possibly other maps at small scales. It is typically 20 to 50 pages long at the most.

Main report. Explains the methods, findings and factual basis of the plan. Written for technical and planning staff who want to know details, including reasons for decisions taken. Often five to ten times as long as the executive summary.

Maps volume. An integral part of the main report, presented separately for convenience of binding.

Appendixes. Give the technical data that support the main report. These may run to several volumes. They include the results from original surveys conducted as part of the plan, e.g. soil surveys, forest inventories, records of river flow.

Box 9
Example of headings for a land-use plan


Land-use plan for...

• Note that until the plan has been approved by the decision-maker, it is a "proposed land-use plan".


• Highlight problems, recommendations and the main reasons for these recommendations.


• The long-term goals for the planning area and the purpose of the plan

• Relationship with other documents. Briefly describe legislation and any higher-level plans as well as local plans that are related to this plan.

• Description of the planning area. A brief overview of location, area, population, land resources, current land use and production


• Statement of land-use problems and opportunities.

• Rationale for the selected option.

• Summary of the changes the plan will bring about, by subject area or geographic area.


• List land-use types and standards that apply to the whole planning area and to individual planning units.

• Identify projects. Illustrate with maps and diagrams.

• Time scale for action.


• Describe the procedure for reviewing progress and revising the plan.


• List individual projects with details of location, time, resources required and responsibility for implementation.


• Supporting information:

- physical environment, planning units, agroclimate and soil data;
- population, settlement, infrastructure, tenure;
- present land use;
- land-use types and land requirements;
- land suitability;
- economic projections.

Public relations material

Relatively few people will read the full planning document, a larger number will read the executive summary, but a lot of people need to be informed about the plan. Each implementing agency needs clear instructions, set in the context of the plan as a whole.

Equally important is a range of public information documents, posters and press releases which are needed to inform the people about the plan, its relevance, the benefits to the community as a whole and the participation needed from different sections of the community. This additional material will draw on the main report but should be specially prepared and well illustrated to secure the most effective participation of all parties.

Step 8

Responsibility: planning team

• Prepare maps - the basic or master land-use plan and supporting maps.

• Set out the land-use allocations and recommendations, based on the preferred option selected in Step 7. Give descriptions of land-use types, including management recommendations on each kind of land.

• Set targets for achievement, by land-use type, area and agency. Specify how they will be reached. Check that they are within the capabilities of the agencies and infrastructure.

• Draw up logistic preparations, specifying the capital works, recurrent inputs and responsibilities for implementation.

• Establish mechanisms for monitoring progress and revising the plan (Step 10).

• Make arrangements for research needed to support the plan.

• Determine the finance needed for each operation and determine sources of funds.

• Write the report - executive summary, main report, maps and appendixes.

• Establish mechanisms for communication with, and the participation of, all institutions involved.

• Prepare public relations material.

Step 9. Implement the plan

The objective of the entire land-use planning exercise so far has been to identify and put into practice beneficial land-use changes. Hence, implementation is included as a "step" in the planning process, albeit a step of a different nature.

At the national level, implementation is likely to be through policy guidelines which may also serve as a framework for selection of possible projects at the district level. In this sense, the planning team remains throughout a part of implementation, supplying information to government as a basis for decisions.

At the local level, implementation is sometimes carried out almost contemporaneously with planning. The planning team may move from one locality to another and draw up detailed plans for implementation (within a framework set at the district level), while leaving the local extension staff, village agricultural committees or other local agencies to put the plan into practice. At the district level, the plan will frequently be implemented by means of a development project. There may be a time gap between planning and implementation for financial, bureaucratic or political reasons. The responsibility for putting the plan into effect rests with the decision-makers, the implementing agencies and the people of the area.

The decision-makers have to release funds, instruct sectoral agencies and facilitate the work of private-sector collaborators. Governments may use incentives such as grants and subsidies and may introduce regulations. Sectoral agencies such as the Forestry, Agriculture and Irrigation Departments may work directly where they have the necessary staff and experience; alternatively, they may work indirectly by training as well as through extension services, field demonstrations and workshops.

The role of the planning team

The planning team has several important contributions to make to implementation. The first is simply to ensure that the measures recommended in the plan are correctly understood and put into practice by the implementing agencies. Representatives of the planning team form an essential link between planning and implementation.

Related to this, the planning team can take a lead in coordinating the activities of the implementing agencies and generally maintain communications between all parties to the plan. It can assist in institution-building, the strengthening of existing institutions or, where necessary, the formation of new ones. This can include staff education and training.

A further activity regards public relations. This may include explaining the land-use situation and plan to the media, at public meetings and in schools. The planning team is in a particularly good position to organize research related to the plan, since they are aware of the problems likely to be encountered. Finally, the team will monitor and evaluate the success of the plan (Step 10).

Much time may be needed to ensure the comprehension, participation and satisfaction of the people of the area as well as that of the local and national government authorities. This is clear in the case of the more socially oriented activities such as pasture management committees, cooperatives and credit for small farmers, yet it applies at all levels. Public relations should not be a one-way process of government "explaining" actions to the people, hut a two-way interchange of ideas. If members of the local community say, for example, that it would be unwise to graze cattle in a particular area during the dry season, they may have excellent reasons which the implementation team should take into account.

Implementation will often depend on efficient project management. The time, finance and other resources devoted to it will often considerably exceed those of the entire planning process preceding it. Implementation involves many aspects that lie beyond the scope of these guidelines, hence the brevity of this section.

Plate 6: Discussion and coordination is essential at many levels

Two aspects which lie at the interface between planning and implementation will be noted: they are institution-building and participation.

Institution- building

It has never been established that the efficient use of land depends on long-term planning. For one thing, the means of implementing long-term plans to date have not proved very effective. Indeed, many government attempts to make farmers conform with (misguided) land-use plans can now be seen as counterproductive.

An opposing view is that land use is best left to market forces, i.e. to a large number of decisions taken by individuals for their own private ends. By keeping decisions small, there is time to learn from both successes and failures, and economic forces will encourage land users to make the best use of resources. This argument rests on decisions being taken where the information is complete but, in fact, individual land users are not always well aware of the consequences of their actions. Without government support, many options are not open to them. Economic pressures can force land users into actions to supply their short-term needs, which will have adverse consequences in the future.

Whatever degree of public intervention is chosen, a professional team is needed to build up an informed opinion on the management of the land and to advise decision-makers on the range of options open and the consequences of alternative decisions. This team needs both the support of the people on the ground and the authority and resources of government.

Government agencies and budgets are mainly organized by sector (Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Irrigation Departments, etc.). Land-use planning has to cut across these administrative hierarchies; however, it must do this without appearing to challenge the influence and budget of established institutions.

Attempts at integrated planning are commonly frustrated by:

• ill-defined responsibilities for coordination of sectoral activities and regional administrations;

• inadequate cooperation with national and regional authorities and with specialist agencies, leading to inefficient use of the available data and expertise;

• lack of experienced staff and the absence of a career structure.

Bureaucratic conflicts can be avoided by hiring consultants to prepare a plan, but experience suggests that plans commissioned from consultants are not often used unless external funding has been built in. Typically, there is little local involvement and neither the executive nor the sectoral agencies have the commitment to implement them. There are two proven alternative strategies:

Set up a special planning area with its own budget and administration (e.g. the Tennessee Valley Authority). This avoids interagency conflicts by replacing the existing agencies, but it is costly and takes time.

Set up an independent land-use planning unit (Fig. 14). This will need a range of expertise, access to authority and the ability to make quick decisions. If it is yet another sectoral body, it will merely compete with other agencies and will not be in a strong position either to influence their programmes or to implement plans of its own.

Probably, the most effective role for the land-use planning unit is as a direct support to the executive. At the highest level, land-use planning might be dealt with by a small committee of permanent members drawn from appropriate departments or agencies with a technical (rather than administrative) secretary. The land-use planning committee should make recommendations on priorities, the allocation of resources and the establishment, approval and coordination of land development programmes. Above all, the chain of responsibility must be clear.

At the national level, the committee will need the professional support of a land-use planning unit responsible for technical aspects of planning, a national land resources database, training and backup for district-level planners. At the district level, staff needs will be more modest, perhaps just one district land-use planner will be required to coordinate district sectoral agencies. Again, the planner should be directly responsible to the chief executive officer and not to a particular department.

Alternative institutional structures for land-use planning

Land-use planning as a separate agency

Land-use planning as a coordinator of agency activity

Land-use planning as a support to the decision-maker

Note: LUP = land-use planning.


It should be clear from all that has been said that land-use planning must involve the local community, the technical agencies and decision-makers at all levels. Their participation has to be built into the planning process.

Among the many reasons for this are:

• that the right questions be addressed - different groups of people can have very different perceptions of land-use problems and opportunities, and specialists do not always know best;

• to make use of the fund of local knowledge of the land and the economy of its use;

• to draw on the inventiveness of local people, technical staff and administrators - locally developed solutions will be accepted and implemented more quickly than external technology;

• planning time and skills are limited, so planning down to the last detail is not a realistic option - if land users are committed to the broad outlines of the plan, they will attend to the details anyway.

The planners must work to secure the commitment of all parties to whatever consensus is arrived at in the land-use plan. The surest way of achieving this is to keep all parties informed at every stage of the process, and to make use of the skills and knowledge that they have to offer. If there are no procedures for consultation, then these must be devised and put into effect.

Participation is of the highest importance in incremental planning. This involves building up and documenting knowledge of the land-use situation and identifying important gaps in that knowledge On the one hand, it requires strengthening the capacities of local communities and decision-makers to make use of the planners' information. On the other, it involves helping decision-makers to focus on land-use goals, the underlying causes of problems and the range of opportunities open to them.

Step 9

Responsibility: implementing agencies and planning team together

Implementation involves a wide range of practical activities, many of which lie beyond the scope of these guidelines. The following refer specifically to roles that the planning team may undertake.

• Ensure that the changes recommended in the plan are correctly applied in the plan; be available for technical consultations; discuss with implementing agencies any suggested modifications.

• Help to maintain communications between all people and institutions participating in or affected by the plan, i.e. land users, sectoral agencies, government, non-governmental organizations, commercial organizations.

• Assist in coordination of the activities of the implementing agencies.

• Assist in institution-building by strengthening links between existing institutions, forming new bodies where necessary and strengthening cooperation.

• Focus on the participation of the land users; ensure adequate incentives.

• Organize research in association with the plan; ensure that results from research are communicated and, where appropriate, incorporated into the plan.

• Arrange for education and training of project staff and land users.

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