Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Volume 2)

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Resources Development and Environmental Management / Enschede / August 1986 
Recording resources in rural areas 
Richard K.Bullard 
The National Remote Sensing Centre, Chelmsford, Essex, UK 
ABSTRACT: In the developed and the developing countries of the world, land in rural areas is under continuing 
pressure. Many of the European countries are attempting to replace the traditional and existing cadastre with 
a Multi-Purpose Cadastre (MPC) in an attempt to more adequately record resources. With the advent of the 
improved resolution of satellite imagery (2nd and 3rd. generation) the possibility of recording many of the 
resources required for a MPC in rural areas will be considered as well as with more conventional imagery. 
Many of the parcels of land in Europe are uneconomic and the need for reapportionment has become a major 
activity of the land surveyor. 
This paper will consider the applications of satellite imagery and aerial photography in conjunction with 
the cadastre to determine the resources of individual parcels of land in rural areas with a view to their 
improvement and future land use. 
Rural land has traditionally been under pressure, ever 
since man has changed his life style from a nomad to a 
pasturalist, and with his subsequent settlement into 
communities. The village became the nucleus for the 
future urban area. 
In the context of this paper rural refers to that 
part of a country, particularly in Europe, which has a 
'low' population density and is largely given over to 
agriculture, forestry, national parks, wilderness and 
mountainous areas. Urban refers to that part of the 
country which has a 'high' population density and is 
given over to housing, industry, transportation, service 
centres, energy plants, termini, etc. The 'low' and 
'high' densities must be considered as variables in each 
country, for example, in countries with large population 
densities the respective density figures will be more 
than in countries with less population density 
Resources in the context of this paper refers to the 
items that will be recorded and listed in a multi 
purpose cadastre, that is those factors which have a 
direct bearing on land. 
To be able to record resources in rural areas it will 
be necessary to relate them to a spatial dimension. In 
those parts of Europe that have a numerical cadastre 
the spatial dimension can be related to the parcel 
boundaries and this provides a density of control which 
fits well into the multi-purpose cadastre. In countries 
that do not have defined cadastral boundaries the need 
for densification of national control will have to be 
Many of the land parcels in Europe are uneconomic and 
in an attempt to consolidate and re-apportion them into 
economic units there will be a need to establish the 
resources that they contain. 
The advent of the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) enables 
the resources of the land parcel to be considered in 
three-dimensions and such variable factors as aspect, 
and sun's elevation may be taken into account when 
changes are proposed into new property boundaries. 
As described in the introduction, rural land is that 
land which is less densly populated and is presently 
used for agriculture etc. In most countries the rural 
region forms the largest area which in developing 
countries often contains the largest percentage of the 
population. In developed countries the rural region 
usually contains the smallest percentage of the total 
2.1 Population movement and increase 
Even though there is a movement of population in rural 
areas into the major urban areas, more so in developing 
countries, there is a reverse move from urban to rural 
areas now occuring in developed countries. It could 
follow that there is more outward pressure in developed 
countries. However, the developing countries have the 
additional problem of population growth, sometimes 
excessive, and although the movement here is presently 
towards urban areas the total numbers are still on the 
increase in rural areas. 
2.2 Food production and agriculture 
The need to increase the production of food in rural 
areas for an increasing population, largely occuring in 
developing countries, puts additional pressure on rural 
land. With some of the agricultural techniques adapted 
in devloping countries there is a trend for diminishing 
return per unit area and in certain circumstances no 
return at all. Examples are the short term benefits of 
clearing tropical forests for agriculture, often after 
only 2 years the land is no longer useable, This 
cleared land will not revert back to forest because the 
thin top soil has been eroded and only poor secondary 
growth will occur. 
2.3 Forestry 
The increasing demand for timber, both for energy and 
for manufacturing paper and wooden objects has involved 
more land being allocated to forestry. In Europe 
forests where not already established are planted on 
poorer soils, in developing countries forests are being 
indiscriminately cleared putting more pressure on 
remaining forests in rural areas. 
2.4 Housing 
Vith expanding populations in developing countries 
increasing amounts of land are allocated to housing. 
Some of the housing will be built by squatters and even 
when these people are moved away the sites remain 
derelict until clearance takes place. 

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