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Estimation of Suitable Areas for Coffee Growth Using a GIS Approach and Multicriteria Evaluation in Regions with Scarce Data

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 33(6): 841-848. (doi: 10.13031/aea.12354) @2017
Authors:   Pablo A. Ochoa, Yesenia M. Chamba, Juan G. Arteaga, Edwin D. Capa
Keywords:   Biophysical characterization, Coffee production area, Ecuador, GIS, Scarce data, Multi-criteria evaluation.


An estimate of appropriate areas for crop production is highly desirable in Ecuador and many other parts of the world for achieving optimum utilization of the available natural resources. Lack of knowledge on best methodologies of coffee management applicable to local conditions has contributed to the inefficient use of land area. This study aimed to develop maps of suitable areas for coffee production in Ecuador. The study was conducted over an area of 800 km2 approximately, where Geographic Information System (GIS) methodology proposed by the official government agency and Multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) was applied. Different parameters such as hydrology, climate, and crop information were considered. Maps were validated in the field with a biophysical characterization on the coffee plots. Also, four suitability classes were defined to describe coffee production: suitable, moderately suitable, marginally suitable, and not suitable areas. More than 50% of study area is suitable and moderately suitable for coffee crop production with the two analyzes (GIS and MCE). The main constraints to increasing coffee production are poor soil depth and fertility, and rainfall amount received needs to be supplemented by irrigation. According to statistical validation both methodologies exposed in this study can be useful for other regions with scarce data to properly manage the territory.

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