Land Capability Assessment for a Smallholders Settlement Scheme in Jamaica

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In the framework of the land-reform programme in Jamaica, a detailed quantitative land capability assessment was carried out in order to determine viable land uses and related farm sizes for the development plan of a smallholders settlement. The assessed area (Burnt Ground) is located in western Jamaica. It consists of two land forms, both developed in limestone: an undulating erosion surface with deep, acid soils (Orthoxic Palehumults) surrounded by steep-sided hills with shallow, stony soils (predominantly Lithic Tropudalfs). The land capability assessment of the area is based on the principle of Land Utilization Types (LUT's) as subjects for classification. Three viable LUT's were determined and specified in line with government policy, socio-economic considerations and traditional land uses in the area. Farm inputs and outputs were quantified and a maximum productivity value (added value expressed in dollars per hectare) was established for each LUT. Next, the requirements of each LUT were matched against a number of diagnostic land characteristics which are related to the soils and topography. This approach has the practical value that, once the target farm-added value per year is established per LUT, the corresponding minimum viable farm size can be determined for land without limitations and for land with various degrees of limitations to that use. This is done by dividing the target farm-added value by the hectare productivity value. The approach also permits a direct quantitative comparison between productivity of different LUT's.
Geoderma, 29, p. 195-214