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Land-use Decision-making and Landscape Degradation: a case study in the American Southwest

Yu, Yang (2011) Land-use Decision-making and Landscape Degradation: a case study in the American Southwest. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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This study examines the role of land-use decision-making of different actor groups, including land developers, politicians, residents, NGOs and city planners, in contributing to land degradation in the American Southwest. Perceptions of different actor groups of the desert landscape are first explored then the motivations and priorities of actor groups to make land-use decisions are investigated. It was found that perceptions of landscape are connected with its functional and intrinsic values. Different groups appreciated functional values with their specific needs and interests. Also, an appreciation of intrinsic values of landscape is partly associated with functional values. By taking a political ecology approach, this study investigates the complex relationships between human land-use decisions and environmental changes and between different actor groups. Issues of power were found to be significant in land use and management practice, and a small number of actors were perceived by others to have more power to control the use and access to the resources. Relationships between and within different actor groups are complex, and conflict when special interests and needs of actors are apparent with some actors considering their rights and power to be limited and diminished by others. Decisions made at local scale are often affected by the regulations and policies operating at regional and national scales. Results also revealed that historical and cultural influences played a role in the decision-making process. In addition, it was found that poor communications exist between actor groups and between different levels of government, and misunderstanding and lack of negotiation between each other can result in conflicts and competition. Land managers and planners need to incorporate opinions and expectations from a wider public and balance the complex diversity of needs of different actor groups.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.555242
Depositing User: Dr Yang Yu
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2012 14:40
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 14:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2058

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