Land Suitability Evaluation for Organic Agriculture of Wheat Using GIS and Multi-Criteria Analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Phillip "Dan" Royall, Associate Professor (Creator)
Selima Sultana, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Despite the growing interest in organic farming, its practice remains limited because of its lower productivity relative to conventional farming. Land suitability evaluation for organic crops can potentially improve productivity, and thus the economic viability of organic farming. The best analytical procedures for such evaluations have not yet been fully explored. This article addresses the evaluation of land suitability of present agricultural lands for organic agriculture of rain-fed winter wheat using Duplin County, North Carolina, a location economically dependent on agriculture, as a case study. A novel land suitability evaluation procedure is developed combined with seventeen suitability criteria from five principal categories including climatic parameters, soil characteristics and qualities, soil chemistry, soil organic matter and fertility, and flood and erosion hazards by using geographic information systems (GIS), multicriteria analysis, and the square root method. Our analysis demonstrates that although 18.6 percent of agricultural lands in Duplin County are highly suitable for organic winter wheat production, a large proportion (76.8 percent) of agricultural lands are also moderately suitable. The method of suitability analysis used in this research, which allows specific consideration of soil organic matter and fertility as particularly critical factors for organic farming, can be easily exported to other locations, for similar applications.

Additional Information

Papers in Applied Geography, Vol. 4 (3), 326-342
Language: English
Date: 2018
GIS, land suitability evaluation, multicriteria analysis, organic agriculture, wheat

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