Ecological planning: A review

Frederick Steiner, Kenneth Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Beginning with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, the federal government of the United States has enacted numerous pieces of legislation intended to protect or conserve the environment. Other national governments have also enacted environmental legislation during the past two decades. State and local governments have also adopted policies concerned with environmental planning and management. Multiple laws and overlapping governmental agency responsibilities have confused development and resource management efforts. A comprehensive methodology that integrates the legal mandates and the agency missions into a common and unified framework is needed. Ecological planning offers such a method. Application of the method allows planners and resource managers to better understand the nature and character of the land and/or resource and therefore make better decisions about its appropriate use or management. The steps taken in an ecological planning process-1) goal setting, 2) inventory and analysis of data, 3) suitability analysis, 4) developing alternatives, 5) implementation, 6) administration, and 7) evaluation-are outlined and explained. Hand-drawn overlays and computer programs as techniques for handling ecological planning information are compared. Observations and suggestions for further research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-505
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecology
  • Human ecology
  • Land-use assessment
  • Planning
  • Suitability analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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