A multicriteria model for planning agricultural regions within a context of groundwater rational management

J Environ Manage. 2010 Jul;91(7):1593-600. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 5.


Current international research focuses on topics like sustainable development, regional planning, environmental decision making and implementation, biodiversity conservation plus a number of other relevant issues, especially at times of economic crisis as today. Economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand, provided that decision makers develop and use tools and insights targeting in the implementation of successful and robust long term policies. This paper was developed in the framework of a European research project and implements a Multicriteria Mathematical Programming model that optimises the sustainable management of agricultural regions taking in account the available resources (land, labour, capital) and environmental parameters (agrochemicals, water consumption). The model achieves the optimum farm plan in the area combining different criteria to a utility function under a set of constraints and the spatial integration of the vulnerability maps of the regions into the model enables the regional authorities to design policies for the optimal agricultural development and the groundwater protection from the agricultural land uses. Furthermore, the model is used to simulate different scenarios and policies by the local stakeholders, due to changes on different social, economic and environmental parameters. In this way the decision makers can achieve alternative farm plans and agricultural land uses as well as to estimate economic, social and environmental impacts of different policies. The model has been applied to an agricultural region in Northern Greece and proved to be a valuable tool in the implementation of environmental policies and actions, especially in agricultural regions in a delicate balance as the study area.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Greece
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Water*


  • Water