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Use of Satellite Data and GIS for Assessing the Agricultural Potentiality of the Soils South Farafra Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

August 23, 2012

Arabian Journal of GeosciencesArabian Journal of Geosciences, Published Online 24 January 2012

Wael Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Kawy and Islam H. Abou El-Magd

“Overpopulation and food security are the main global problems alert decision makers. In developing countries, such problem put extra pressure for horizontal expansion for agricultural development. The rapid sprawl of urbanized areas on the alluvial land of the River Nile and delta to accommodate the population growth has encouraged governmental and private sector for agricultural expansion in the desert. Unless there are reliable information and accurate studies for land and soil suitability, there will be a collapse of such investment. To evaluate the potential suitability of soil for agriculture development in areas of the western desert, satellite images, geographic information, and field survey including soil profiles and artesian water samples with laboratory analysis were integrated to classify the soils according their suitability for specific crop. The main land qualities of the different mapping units and the crop requirement were rated and matched to obtain the current and potential land suitability using Automated Land Evaluation System “ALES”. The study found that the main physiographic units are plateaus, hilland, mountain, and depression floor. But there are three limiting parameters for land suitability which are the lack of nutrient elements, wind erosion vulnerability, and soil texture. The study concluded that the best crops adapted with the soil conditions and could be feasible for economic use are: (1) native vegetation such as agol, sand trees, sammar, halfaa, bawaal, qordaob, bardi, and qortom; (2) filed crops such as onion, garlic, watermelon and wheat; and (3) fruits such as olive and date palms.”

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