13 Land use

Land use and land management practices at all levels, from farms to back gardens, have a major impact on natural resources including water, soil, nutrients, plants and animals. Land use information can be used to develop solutions for natural resource management issues such as salinity and water quality. Land degradation has been exacerbated where there has been an absence of any land use planning, or of its orderly execution.

Many terrestrial landscapes are managed as farming systems but there is an increasing need for these systems to fulfil functions that are not directly related to agriculture. Agricultural production must be balanced against the need to maintain healthy ecosystems that can provide a variety of goods and services necessary for human wellbeing. Achieving this balance poses a significant challenge to modern societies and requires the integration of ecological, economic, and social issues.