Sustainability assessment using geostatistical analysis and spatial modeling in El-Tina plain in Egypt
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Innovations in Sharing Environmental Observations and Information
Man and the Environment
Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in agriculture is a very complex and challenging concept encompassing biophysical, socioeconomic and environmental concerns that must be viewed in an integrated manner. In order to evaluate the sustainability of agriculture sector in El-Tina plain, Egypt, Ordinary Kriging (OK), and spatial modeling were used to generate soil map and build SLM model in ArcGIS for sustainability assessment on the basis of international Framework for Evaluating Sustainable Land Management (FESLM). Five FESLM pillars: to enhance production services (productivity), to reduce the level of production risk (security), to protect the potential of natural resources and prevent degradation of soil and water quality (protection), to be economically viable (viability) and to be acceptable (acceptability) were assessed under the umbrella of biophysical and socio-economic conditions. These indicators have been included in a prototype decision support system (DSS). Feedback on the indicators was obtained from the farmers after the DSS was used to evaluate their farming system. Information extracted from 58 questionnaires carried out with local farmers aimed to characterize the land management systems, outline their constraints and potentials, 96 soil sample points and 41 observation points have been analyzed according to the FESLM methodology to develop SLM indicators that address the five pillars of the FESLM, producing maps showing soil mapping units sustainability, biophysical, social and economic conditions. As a result, this model is able to highlight these soil mapping units that are most in need of assistance to achieve sustainability. It will also be a valuable tool for evaluation and monitoring of strategies for sustainability. Major sustainability constraints could be identified as high salinity, high alkalinity and lack of infrastructure. Based on the sustainability analysis, soils of the study area belong to classes 2, 3 and 4.