Protecting Agricultural Land: How Informal Institutions and Historical Perspectives Affect Land-Use Policy

  • Author / Creator
  • Land-use pressures in Alberta's agricultural landscapes have intensified in recent years. With the province's broad historical agricultural base and ongoing urban expansion, there have been growing concerns about the loss of prime agricultural land. These concerns and conflicts have been reflected in recent provincial policies that attempt to balance competing land-use pressures. These policies include the 2008 Land-Use Framework (LUF) and the 2009 Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), which authorizes the creation of policies and management strategies to protect, conserve and enhance agricultural land (ALSA: Government of Alberta, 2009). However, local interpretations concerning province-wide land-use policies and perceived restrictions on private land use have hindered the desired outcomes (Lavelle, 2012).
    Since the creation of Alberta’s most recent land use policies, various studies have reported a persistent pattern of fragmentation and conversion of prime agricultural lands. While several research projects have measured the spatial context and implications of converting agricultural lands, few have attempted to assess the non-spatial causes of continuing conversion and fragmentation of agricultural land. Following a qualitative case study approach, this research aims to understand better how factors such as social norms and informal institutions influence land-use decisions at the municipal level, focusing on decisions affecting the fragmentation and conversion of agricultural land. This study also considers how these informal factors affect the application of Alberta's land-use policies and formal mandates.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.