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One question challenges all disciplines today—how many people with a given standard of living or rate of resource consumption can be sustained in a given area? Geologic factors concerning the natural environment and resources are basic limitations. It is necessary to define legal constraints on land and water use to provide sustained support of man at a specified living standard and technical efficiency.

Methods to determine natural geologic limitations to land use, ranging from the community to the regional scale, have been attempted in Oregon. The various geologic factors—such as land stabilities, geohydrology, soil and rock characteristics, landforms, and resources—are defined according to their developmental limitations. Existing land use and trends are then compared to natural limitations to determine conflicting and compatible land uses.

Simple systems of presenting and integrating geologic with nongeologic factors are utilized for improved public understanding and participation in the planning process. Final application of geologic factors in land-use planning depends largely on comprehension of them by nongeologists. Even so, a geologist member of the planning team is essential to ensure use of the available geologic data.

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