Adapting Agriculture Through Land Use Controls

Chapter 8 in: Research Handbook on Climate Change and Agricultural Law (2017) ISBN: 9781784710637

Albany Law School Research Paper No. 2 for 2017-2018

41 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2017 Last revised: 6 Sep 2017

Date Written: March 2, 2017


The practice of land use control is an exercise in building (or losing) adaptive capacity in communities. Land use choices, and the regulatory schemes that govern them, determine the location, character, and intensity of the community’s impact on the environment, vulnerability to change, and resources that can be relied upon. For example, land use regulations influence the locations of different land uses and therefore determine the distances people travel to home, work, and play (and therefore determine air, water and land impacts from transportation, as well as infrastructure needs, psychological impacts of travel, and so on). Not surprisingly, land use control is the primary tool that local governments employ to confront new challenges to the social, economic, and environmental fabric of community.

This chapter examines some exemplary resiliency strategies that are being employed at the local level. This chapter does not assert that local control over agricultural practices is the best or only answer to the climate challenge. The land use component of agricultural resiliency is arguably limited because of the role that parochialism plays in defining local environmental and economic concerns. Nevertheless local participation in climate change solutions is considered a necessity, and the types of solutions that local governments produce are important. Land use control is a uniquely local practice that is universally driven by the need to protect local priorities, facilitate local identities, and even to foster local and individual opportunities. Land use control addresses challenges such as climate change because the failure to do so results in the failure of local government to govern.

Keywords: Land use control; resiliency strategies, agriculture, local government, ecosystem services

Suggested Citation

Hirokawa, Keith H., Adapting Agriculture Through Land Use Controls (March 2, 2017). Chapter 8 in: Research Handbook on Climate Change and Agricultural Law (2017) ISBN: 9781784710637. Available at SSRN:

Keith H. Hirokawa (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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