Natural resource use planning In an area such as the "Cerrado" region In the Midwest of BrazilIs a challenge. Any planning framework for analysing Investment opportunities in such a region must emphasize sustainable development. This implies a shift from the traditional single agricultural expansion objective approach, to a multiple objective approach such as that described in this thesis.
The main objective of this study was to develop an appropriate planning framework for quantifying the effects of new crop farm development proposals for the "Cerrado" region, from a multiple objective perspective. Its practical Implementation depends on the following: the generation of specific experimental data on rice, maize, wheat and soybean crops and reliable climate and soils data to calibrate corresponding crop models that are incorporated Into a planning framework; the development of experiences concerning environmental quality and social Impact analysis by Brazilian researchers; and training of planning framework users for the enlightenment of policy makers.
The study was carried out from the point of view of systems theory, and the chosen research approach integrates a set of different modelling techniques within the developed planning framework. The application of a such planning framework for the Paracatu "Planicie" area was orientated to the final selection (among nine alternatives) of the most appropriate farming system for adoption. However, by manipulating the models which were integrated into the planning framework, and parameters and data related to prices, crop yields, farm sizes, Interest rates, credit and others, a range of policy types can be represented and their effects assessed.
The results presented illustrate the potential of the planning framework developed here, as a policy analysis tool for farm development. In the conclusions, some insight Is provided Into aspects concerning the incorporation of this planning framework Into a comprehensive decision support system.