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Participatory, Multi-Criteria Evaluation Methods as a Means to Increase the Legitimacy and Sustainability of Land Use Planning Processes. The Case of the Chaco Region in Salta, Argentina

Seghezzo, Lucas, Venencia, Cristian, Buliubasich, E. Catalina, Iribarnegaray, Martín A., Volante, José N.
Environmental management 2017 v.59 no.2 pp. 307-324
decision making, farmers, geographic information systems, indigenous peoples, land tenure, land use planning, models, nongovernmental organizations, ownership, stakeholders, Argentina, El Gran Chaco
Conflicts over land use and ownership are common in South America and generate frequent confrontations among indigenous peoples, small-scale farmers, and large-scale agricultural producers. We argue in this paper that an accurate identification of these conflicts, together with a participatory evaluation of their importance, will increase the social legitimacy of land use planning processes, rendering decision-making more sustainable in the long term. We describe here a participatory, multi-criteria conflict assessment model developed to identify, locate, and categorize land tenure and use conflicts. The model was applied to the case of the “Chaco” region of the province of Salta, in northwestern Argentina. Basic geographic, cadastral, and social information needed to apply the model was made spatially explicit on a Geographic Information System. Results illustrate the contrasting perceptions of different stakeholders (government officials, social and environmental non-governmental organizations, large-scale agricultural producers, and scholars) on the intensity of land use conflicts in the study area. These results can help better understand and address land tenure conflicts in areas with different cultures and conflicting social and enviornmental interests.