On the use of multivariate analysis and land evaluation for potential agricultural development of the northwestern coast of Egypt

The development of the agricultural sector is considered the backbone of sustainable development in Egypt. While the developing countries of the world face many challenges regarding food security due to rapid population growth and limited agricultural resources, this study aimed to assess the soils of Sidi Barrani and Salloum using multivariate analysis to determine the land capability and crop suitability for potential alternative crop uses, based on using principal component analysis (PCA), agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis (AHC) and the Almagra model of MicroLEIS. In total, 24 soil profiles were dug, to represent the geomorphic units of the study area, and the soil physicochemical parameters were analyzed in laboratory. The land capability assessment was classified into five significant classes (C1 to C5) based on AHC and PCA analyses. The class C1 represents the highest capable class while C5 is assigned to lowest class. The results indicated that about 7% of the total area was classified as highly capable land (C1), which is area characterized by high concentrations of macronutrients (N, P, K) and low soil salinity value. However, about 52% of the total area was assigned to moderately high class (C2), and 29% was allocated in moderate class (C3), whilst the remaining area (12%) was classified as the low (C4) and not capable (C5) classes, due to soil limitations such as shallow soil depth, high salinity, and increased erosion susceptibility. Moreover, the results of the Almagra soil suitability model for ten crops were described into four suitability classes, while about 37% of the study area was allocated in the highly suitable class (S2) for wheat, olive, alfalfa, sugar beet and fig. Furthermore, 13% of the area was categorized as highly suitable soil (S2) for citrus and peach. On the other hand, about 50% of the total area was assigned to the marginal class (S4) for most of the selected crops. Hence, the use of multivariate analysis, mapping land capability and modeling the soil suitability for diverse crops help the decision makers with regard to potential agricultural development. © 2020 by the authors.

El Sayed Said M. , Ali A.M. 1, 2 , Borin M.3 , Abd-Elmabod S.K.4 , Aldosari A.A.5 , Khalil M.M.N.6 , Abdel-Fattah M.K.6
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  • 1 National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS), Cairo, 11843, Egypt
  • 2 Agrarian-Technological Institute of the Peoples Friendship University of Russia, ul. Miklukho-Maklaya 6, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation
  • 3 Department of Agronomy Food Natural Resources, Animals and Environment-DAFNAE, University of Padua, Agripolis Campus, Viale dell' Università 16, Legnaro (PD), 35020, Italy
  • 4 Soils and Water Use Department, Agricultural and Biological Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, 12622, Egypt
  • 5 Geography Department, King Saud University, Riyadh, 11451, Saudi Arabia
  • 6 Soil Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture, ZagazigUniversity, Zagazig, 44519, Egypt
Crop suitability; Egypt; GIS; Land capability; NWCE; PCA
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