TVAL-Farm: A Qualitative Enhancement of the LESA Model

TVAL-Farm: A Qualitative Enhancement of the LESA Model

Art Rex (Appalachian State University, USA), Leah Greden Mathews (University of North Carolina at Asheville, USA) and Anne Lancaster (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2038-4.ch032
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The Total Value Assessment Tool for Farmland (TVAL-Farm) is a tool which incorporates scenic quality and cultural heritage elements to create an enhanced Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) model. The enhancement of the LESA model provides insight and a framework on how to collect and incorporate qualitative public values within the quantitative environment of a Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Inclusion of these public values is essential for holistically valuing land parcels and using LESA to make land protection decisions.
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The Study Area

The study area used to test our methodology consists of four contiguous counties in the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's (NCDACS) Western Mountain District: Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Haywood (Figure 1). These counties provide an excellent test region for our methodologies because parts of the region are fairly urbanized while others have great potential for growth. Buncombe is the most populated county in our study area with 314 people per square mile and 6,454 non-farm establishments. Henderson is less populated but growing at a faster rate with 238 people per square mile and 2,302 non-farm establishments. Haywood's population density is 97.6 people per square mile; the county has 1,411 non-farm establishments. Madison is the least populated with 44 people per square mile and 309 non-farm establishments (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). Madison County is perceived to be under an urgent threat of urbanization since the recent completion of Interstate 26 through the county now makes it more accessible to commuters and tourists, thus raising the likelihood that property values will increase and create additional stressors on farmland.

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