Land use decision support resources

Decision-making tools and information for responsible resource management, policy decision-making, and agricultural land use planning.


Land use stewardship initiatives include GIS-based and other decision support tools, projects and partnerships. Together they support an integrated approach to:

  • land use
  • characterize agricultural use
  • adoption of stewardship practices
  • information to support the benefits of conservation farming and direct seeding

Decision support tools

The following decision support tools can be used for a variety of decision-making needs, many with a spatial or GIS based component:

Alberta Farm Fertilizer Information and Recommendation Manager (AFFIRM)

AFFIRM v3 assists the user in evaluating nutrient management options for fertilizers and livestock manure to develop nutrient management plans for crop production.

Alberta Soil Information Viewer

Use this online, map-based decision-support tool to access selected soil data in Alberta’s agricultural region.


These land-use projects show land use changes over time and the effects of adopting stewardship practices:

Alberta erosion control initiative

Soil erosion is both an environmental and agricultural problem. It causes the reduction of crop yields and quality, as well as loss of the topsoil resource. Erosion by the wind removes the silts, organic materials and nutrients that increase the soil fertility and the land easier to farm.

Read about strategies to mitigate soil erosion and emergency practices for wind erosion controls:

Wind erosion control

Water erosion control

Emergency Wind Erosion Control Measures

Assessing agronomic nitrogen management

This study – Assessing agronomic nitrogen management on crop nitrogen use and nitrogen losses in the western Canadian prairies – pioneered a methodology of process-based agroecosystem modelling. This methodology is replicable and scalable. Potential uses include assessment of cumulative impacts of alternative agronomic nitrogen management options on crop production and on the environment, at a provincial, regional, federal, continental and global scale.

Bow river land use characterization

The Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan pilot within the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan tests and demonstrates how implementation of a management framework occurs through collaboration and shared stewardship to address an environmental issue. For example, phosphorus management, from point and non-point source perspectives.

Since the plan's approval in 2014 and implementation in 2015, one of the strategies provides science-based information and establish phosphorus loading targets in the planning area.

In support of the Government of Alberta developing Bow river maximum allowable loads for total phosphorus, the Bow River Land Use characterization project aims to determine land use changes over time, from 1991 to 2010, in the Bow river tributaries. Weather pattern characterization and agricultural land use and phosphorus concentration, relationship exploration in the tributaries help understand potential drivers of phosphorus loading contributions.


Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan: Overview

Bow River Phosphorus Management Plan: Five Year Update

Crop management resources

Conservation farming land use

The Conservation Farming Land Use Changes study shows that Alberta dryland farmers have increased their productivity on the same land base while minimizing environmental impacts of seeding, tillage and cropping management over the past 20 to 30 years.

State of the prairie

Native prairie is foundational for native biodiversity in the Grassland and Parkland Natural Regions of Alberta. The State of the Prairie Technical Report looks at what is the current extent of native vegetation/features of the Grassland and Parkland Natural Regions in Alberta and what change has occurred from the earliest datasets to the latest.

Policies and guidelines

Land-use Framework – Agricultural reporting provides strategies to manage Alberta’s land and natural resources to achieve long-term economic, environmental, and social goals.

Contact 310-FARM

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276) (in Alberta)
Phone: 403-742-7901 (outside Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

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