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Abstract

Farmland often contributes scenic quality and cultural heritage to a region; however, these factors are challenging to incorporate into standard farmland valuation schemes because of their qualitative nature. This research develops a method for enhancing the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) model to incorporate scenic quality and cultural heritage elements into the rating scheme. Data on the scenic quality and cultural heritage values of the community was gathered via a participatory geographic information system (PGIS) exercise and combined with traditional LESA factors to develop a GIS-linked enhanced LESA model. This method provides a holistic valuation of farmland characteristics and directly incorporates community values. When a LESA model is augmented with scenic quality and cultural heritage elements, farmland protection priorities in the study region are impacted.

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