Characterization of Land Suitability for Crop and Fruit Production in Wadi Sakher at North West Coastal Zone of Egypt

Abdalsamad Abdalsatar Ali Aldabaa

Land suitability measures the land performance for cultivated crops based on soil qualities. The current study is to evaluate the land suitability of an area under rainfed agriculture system that is depended mainly on harvesting of seasonal rainfall. An integrated approach combined Land Use Suitability Evaluation Tool (LUSET) with the local farmer expertise and knowledge was used. Based on the farmer expertise and knowledge, three classes landform priorities were proposed for the selected crops; watermelon, barley, wheat, olive, fig, pomegranate, and almond. These classes were named as high (P1), moderate (P2), and low priority (P3). The study area was delineated into four main landforms called, coastal plain, piedmont plain, escarpment, and tableland. Piedmont plain was reclassified into subunits named as coalesced delta, drainage channel, and summit, while escarpment and tableland reclassified into two subunit; drainage channel and summit. Eight soil mapping units are classified according to variation in slope, soil depth, and soil texture. Based on physical, chemical, and fertility status of these soil mapping units, they differ in their soil suitability response for the selected crops. the study found that, SMU01 and 02 are marginal suitable, while SMU03 and 04 differ from high suitable to moderate suitable for the selected crops. SMU05 and 08 are moderate suitable for watermelon, barley, and wheat while they are marginal suitable for orchard trees. Soil mapping units 06 and 07 are not suitable for orchard tress and marginal suitable for watermelon, barley, and wheat. As for the landform priority, the study revealed that the coastal plain has low priority for orchard trees and watermelon, while it has high and moderate priority for barley and wheat, respectively. The coalesced deltas has high priority for barley and wheat while it has moderate priority for watermelon and orchard trees. The drainage channel is highly priority for watermelon and orchard trees while it is low priority for barley and wheat. On the other hand, summit has high priority for barley and wheat, moderate for watermelon, low for orchard trees.

Key words; Suitability     Rainfed      watermelon     barley     wheat     orchard