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Received March 28, 1995,Revised , Accepted , Available online

Volume 7,1995,Pages 304-316

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Taojiang County, Hunan Province is one of the typical underdeveloped counties in China characterized by high population density, low economic development and rural poverty. natural resource deteriorationand lack of infrastructure. In order to move forward sustainably, an ecologically-sound land use planning iscarried out. In the study, land use and rural development strategies were proposed based on the results of landquality and land suitability assessments. The results suggested that: (1 ) agricultural land quality depends onmany factors including land productivity . ecological sensitivity. risk of natural disturbance , location and theircombination; (2) land suitability analysis should not be solely related to the compatibility of the resource requirements of certain land uses with the current resource situation, but should also include the impact of theland use patterns on resources and the environment ; and (3) rural development of the county should emphasize a labor-intensive agricultural production system basing on land suitability. In this paper, the context andthe methods of ecological land use planning applied in Taojiang County were presented.

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