A new approach to calculating distances to parcels: A way to increase the accuracy of farm efficiency analyses and the assessment of land consolidation projects
AbstractThe arrangement of parcels on a farm strongly affects agricultural profitability and is therefore taken into account when undertaking economic analyses, land reallocation modelling, or when evaluating the effects of land consolidation. The paper proposes an algorithm for the automatic calculation of distances that are good approximations of actual routes for people, harvests, and farm machinery. The proposed solution uses a graph that represents the transport network and the locations of the farm buildings of a given holding. The algorithm takes into consideration obstacles that prevent transport, such as rivers, civil engineering structures, or steep slopes. The results indicate the need to consider such obstacles in analyses of individual holdings; however, when fragmentation indices are calculated for whole villages, the impact of considering obstacles on the final value of indices is much smaller. Another conclusion is that rectilinear distances, which are often used in analyses, are the primary source of both the low accuracy of fragmentation indices and the results of analyses that employ distances travelled within a holding.
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