Landowner willingness to embed production agriculture and other land use options in residential areas of Chittenden County, VT

Daniel L. Erickson, Sarah Taylor Lovell, V. Ernesto Méndez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Throughout the world, urbanization is causing a loss of agricultural land as residential and commercial development expand. In Chittenden County, Vermont, U.S.A., this land use conversion has resulted in subdivision of farms into large residential parcels. Some of these residential parcels retain sizeable areas of undeveloped prime agricultural soil, yet the land is effectively removed from agricultural production. This study explored landowner willingness to enroll a portion of their land in a cooperative land management (CLM) scheme. Our results show support for embedding production agriculture and other cooperative land use options in residential parcels. Almost half of the respondents (45.6%) indicated they would enroll a portion of their land in a CLM program, while another 28.4% said "maybe" A cluster analysis partitioned the respondents into five clusters based on the following variables: percent agricultural land on parcel, parcel size, years in residence, and the population density of the town where the parcel is located. Willingness to participate in the CLM program and different land use options (livestock grazing, vegetables, fruit, field crops, biofuel, maple sugaring, wildflowers, medicinal plants, wildlife corridor, and recreational trails) varied across the clusters. A cluster containing a high percentage of agricultural land (" farms" ) had the highest support for production agriculture options, while a cluster of long term residents (old timers) had the lowest. These results are encouraging for farmers seeking access to affordable farmland and for planning efforts seeking increased regional landscape multifunctionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 30 2011


  • Cluster analysis
  • Continuous productive urban landscape
  • Cooperative land management
  • Embedded agriculture
  • Mail survey
  • Multifunctionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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