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Mapping land use competition in the rural¿urban fringe and future perspectives on land policies: A case study of Meknès (Morocco)

Debolini M., Valette E., François M., Chéry J.P.. 2015. Land Use Policy, 47 : p. 373-381.

DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.01.035

The geographical and socio-economic characteristics of peri-urban areas make them particularly vulnerable to land use competition. They are transitional zones, in continuous transformation, where various economic activities attempt to co-exist in equilibrium. Peri-urban agriculture plays a key role in this dynamic, functioning in a complex system that includes a large and diverse set of stakeholders which act to provide environmental and economic services to cities. The work described in this paper was undertaken to develop a methodology to map land use competition in terms of vulnerability to urbanization of agricultural lands, based on explicit spatial indicators set up in a GIS-based multi-criteria analysis (hereafter GIS-MCDA). The applied indicators are generated from an analysis of existing drivers of land use competition within the peri-urban area of Meknes (Morocco). This area is particularly interesting because of its agricultural characteristics, and because of recent changes in the dynamics of land use and tenure. This case study indicates a high risk of land competition in 37% of the area examined, and a very high risk in 16% of the area. The highest risk areas are located in the southern part of the peri-urban region, which is also considered the most valuable in terms of agricultural production. The map we have developed can be considered a preliminary tool for improving new planning strategies to manage land resource competition in rural¿urban fringe zones. The approach presented is particularly useful as a simplified methodology to obtain spatialized indicators for the drivers of land use competition when data are limited, as often found in developing countries.

Mots-clés : maroc

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