Geonatural Resources Planning, a comprehensive program specifically initiated to conduct a detailed inventory and analysis of the Earth's natural resources, is relatively new to the field of planning. The composite view obtained allows more objective and logical development alternatives to be derived. In turn, decision makers are provided with greater validity of opinions on which they can base their decisions.
The term "geonatural resources" was derived by combining the Greek word "geo," meaning "of the Earth," to the words "natural resources." Specifically, the geonatural or the physical aspects of man's surroundings will refer to the biogeochemical systems and elements, including ecological interrelations, that exist and are part of the life support zone (biosphere) of the Earth. The philosophical foundations of geonatural resources planning are based upon notions of man's behavior, man's use and value of the land, human holding capacities of the land, and the limitation of economic growth.
The major areas of concern are the elements of the defined ecosystem, effects of land use decisions on the ecosystem, economic factors of land use decisions, and the dynamics of the time dimension within the various component relations over time. The conceptual framework consists of three components: (1) to systematically define the elements to be investigated, potential problems, and options; (2) to discuss the tools required to conduct and implement comprehensive programs; and (3) to discuss some of the probable limitations. Emphasis is placed upon the use of engineering geology as an integral element of geonatural resources planning.