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Open AccessArticle

Land-Use Suitability in Northeast Iran: Application of AHP-GIS Hybrid Model

Department of Agroecology, Faculty of Agriculture, Azad University of Mashhad, 9187864584 Mashhad, Iran
Department of Geography, Ghent University, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Economics and Rural Development, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, B-4000 Liege, Belgium
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Development, Department of Agricultural Management and Development, University of Tehran, 1417466191 Tehran, Iran
Faculty of Applied Economics, Department of Engineering Management, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, B-3500 Hasselt, Belgium
College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA), Nanjing 210016, China
Department of Geography, University of Tartu, 21014 Tartu, Estonia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(12), 396;
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
PDF [5248 KB, uploaded 1 December 2017]


Land-use suitability is the ability of a given type of land to support a defined use. Analysis of land-use suitability requires the consideration of a variety of criteria, not only the natural/physical capacity of a land unit, but also its socioeconomic and environmental impact implications. As land suitability is assessed within a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment, it is formulated as a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) problem. The study was conducted in the Sangab Plain in northeast Iran. We investigated the study area’s suitability for grassland and agricultural uses. A hybrid method of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and GIS methodology was applied to evaluate land suitability based on a set of criteria and sub-criteria. Results showed that 20% of the study area had high (rich), 65% had medium (fair), and 15% had low (poor) suitability for agriculture. In terms of grassland use, the comparable amounts were, respectively, about 7%, 23%, and 70%. The lands of the Sangab Plain have medium potential for agricultural use and low potential for grassland use. This paper used both qualitative and quantitative techniques. View Full-Text
Keywords: land suitability; AHP-GIS hybrid method; agricultural land uses; grassland uses; Sangab Plain land suitability; AHP-GIS hybrid method; agricultural land uses; grassland uses; Sangab Plain

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Memarbashi, E.; Azadi, H.; Barati, A.A.; Mohajeri, F.; Passel, S.V.; Witlox, F. Land-Use Suitability in Northeast Iran: Application of AHP-GIS Hybrid Model. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 396.

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