A GIS-BASED MULTI-CRITERIA ANALYSIS ON CROPLAND SUITABILITY IN BORNUUR SOUM, MONGOLIA
Keywords: cropland suitability, GIS, multi-criteria, AHP, Bornuur soum, Mongolia
Abstract. Agriculture is one of the most critical sectors of the Mongolian economy. In Mongolia, land degradation is increasing in the cropland region, especially in a cultivated area. The country has challenges to identify new croplands with sufficient capacity for cultivation, especially for local decision-makers. GIS applications tremendously help science in making land assessments. This study was carried out in Bornuur soum, Mongolia. The goal of this study to estimate that best suitable area for supporting crop production in Bornuur soum, using a GIS-based multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and remote sensing. GIS-based multi-criteria analysis (MCA) has been widely used in land suitability analyses in many countries. In this research, the GIS-based spatial MCA among the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method has employed. The approach was enhanced for each criterion which as soil, topography and vegetation. The opinions of agronomist experts and a literature review helped in identifying criteria (soil data, topography, water and vegetation data) that are necessary to determine areas suitable for crops. The detailed cropland suitability maps indicate that 46.12 % is highly suitable for cropland, 34.68 % is moderate suitable, 13.64 % is marginal suitable and 5.56 % is not suitable. The MCA and AHP tools play an essential role in the multi-criteria analysis. Therefore, the results of these methods allow us to estimate an appropriate area for cultivation in Bornuur soum, Tuv province. The crop suitability method implies significant decisions on different levels and the result will be used for cropland management plan to make a decision. It is an integral role in agricultural management and land evaluation. Future research should further develop this method by including socio-economic (potential citizens for agriculture, current crop growth, water resource, etc.) and environmental variables (rainfall, vegetation types, permafrost distribution, etc.) to obtain specific results. However, it could be also be applied for a single crop type (mainly barley, wheat and potato) in Mongolia.