Document type: DU ETD
Collection: Geology Theses  
Title Agriculturally Critical Area Information as a Planning Tool in Rappahannock County -- Baseline 1977
Author(s) Cheeseman, Valerie C.
School/Department Department of Geography
Institution University of Denver
Degree Type Master's
Degree Name M.A.
Type of Resource text
Degree Date 1979 December
Digital Origin reformatted digital
Rights Statement All Rights Reserved
Reason for Restrictions No restrictions
Type of Restriction Access restricted to University of Denver and Interlibrary Loan
Keyword(s) Geography
Genre Dissertations, Academic
Abstract Important farmlands as defined by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS) are disappearing the fastest in the Southeast Region of the U.S. Permanent loss of important farmlands to urban and built-up uses depletes the nation's renewable resource base. Prime farmlands, a sub-category of important farmlands. need to be identifies and mapped for conservation purposes in the face of future physical development. Primary and secondary data sources can be combined to provide information useful to land use planners. The purpose of the research was to supply statistical and geographic data on prime farmlands in an area experiencing physical development pressures. Rappahannock county, Virginia, in the Southeast Region, fit this purpose, for it is experiencing changes in land use, but still maintains rural characteristics. The objectives were to measure haw much prime farmland existed in the County. how much land has been brought into crop use, how much farmland has been lost to urban and built-up uses, where the losses of prime farmland are the heaviest and where future losses may occur. It was through a combination of primary and secondary data sources that the objectives were met. The procedure devised to meet the objectives was twofold. NASA Black and White medium scale photography was manually classified into 18 prime farmlands related land use and land cover categories of two levels--Level II (U.S. Geological Survey, Anderson and others, 1976) and Level III (USGS modified--user created). Farm plans provided information on cropland to complete the land use and land cover data base. SCS soil survey information was manually transferred and combined with the land use and land cover data to complete the prime farmland soils data base. The research provided a geographic baseline (1977) distribution and measurement of land use and land cover and prime farmland soils. Results were two thematic maps showing the location of 18 land use and land cover categories and of prime farmland soil series, and area measurements for each category. Measurements of prime farmland areas occupied by urban and built-up uses (lost prime farmlands) were very small--165.9 acres. Trends of losses can be used in formulation measures to preserve the majority of prime farmland (11,877.1 acres). For rural counties with limited planning capabilities, this technique required minimal equipment and training and could provide needed information on farmland resources.
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