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Research articles

ScienceAsia 35 (2009): 170-177 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2009.35.170

Integration of land evaluation and the analytical hierarchical process method for energy crops in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanlaya Tienwonga,*, Songkot Dasanandaa, Chalie Navanugrahab

ABSTRACT:     The main objective of this study is to evaluate the land suitability for cultivation of some economically important energy crops, which are sugarcane and cassava, in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand. To achieve this goal, multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) integrated with the 1976 FAO framework for crop plantation was used to assess suitable areas for growing these crops. Several biological and economical factors involved in the analysis were selected based on the FAO framework and experts' opinions. Their data were kept, displayed, and used as individual and combined GIS layers. Each factor received a weight and a score which represented its relative importance in the suitability evaluation by using the analytical-hierarchical process method which is one of the widely used MCDM techniques. A land suitability map for each crop selected was produced based on the linear combination of weight and rating score of each factor involved and classified into 4 suitability classes according to the FAO standard. The proportion of the area highly suitable or moderately suitable for cultivation of sugarcane was 52%, and for cultivation of cassava, 45%. Only a small percentage of the area was not suitable. Typically, the most suitable areas for both crops were located in the eastern and lower part of the province having highly fertile soil and abundant water resources available therein. It was also found that most parts of the suitable area of both crops were located in the existing agricultural land (but being used for other crops/plants).

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a School of Remote Sensing, Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakornratchasima 30000, Thailand
b Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, Nakornpathom 73000, Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail: kanlayatiean@yahoo.com

Received 9 Sep 2008, Accepted 18 Feb 2009