GIS-BASED MULTI-CRITERIA MODEL FOR COTTON CROP LAND SUITABILITY: A PERSPECTIVE FROM SINDH PROVINCE OF PAKISTAN
Land use potentialities and local agro-ecologies limits are key principles of sustainable land management.
Geographical Information System (GIS) is an efficient tool for collecting, storing, retrieving transforming and
displaying spatial data and also non-spatial data from the real world for a particular set of objectives. In this
study agroinformatics and geo-spatial technologies are combined to design a model for evaluating the cotton
crop land suitability. Soil, ground water availability, irrigation methods, climate, land use, cropping patterns and
agro-ecological zoning are used in a model with GIS framework as a Spatial Decision Support System. Multicriteria
decision-making methodology is employed in a systematic manner. It starts with the selection of
significant factors and goes on with normalization, ranking, weight extraction and implementation of weighted
overlays function for graded suitable areas identification for cotton crop cultivation in the Sindh province of
Pakistan. The criteria are normalized on a same scale viz. suitable, less suitable and not suitable land for cotton
crop cultivation. The output of model is validated through practicing cropping pattern in the region and
associated agriculture statistics. We found a highly significant correlation (r = 0.92) between multi-criteria
cotton crop suitability and practicing crop patterns in the study area. This model can be extended for local scale
with variety of crop types and in other regions of the world.