A Comparison of Approaches to Regional Land-Use Capability Analysis for Agricultural Land-Planning

Smallholder agriculture is a major source of income and food for developing nations. With more frequent drought and increasing scarcity of arable land, more accurate land-use planning tools are needed to allocate land resources to support regional agricultural activity. To address this need, we created Land Capability Classification (LCC) system maps using data from two digital soil maps, which were compared with measurements from 1305 field sites in the Dosso region of Niger. Based on these, we developed 250 m gridded maps of LCC values across the region. Across the region, land is severely limited for agricultural use because of low available water-holding capacity (AWC) that limits dry season agricultural potential, especially without irrigation, and requires more frequent irrigation where supplemental water is available. If the AWC limitation is removed in the LCC algorithm (i.e., simulating the use of sufficient irrigation or a much higher and more evenly distributed rainfall), the dominant limitations become less severe and more spatially varied. Finally, we used additional soil fertility data from the field samples to illustrate the value of collecting contemporary data for dynamic soil properties that are critical for crop production, including soil organic carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen.
Vulnerability, Agriculture, Drought, Land degradation
Ippolito, T.A.; Herrick, J.E.; Dossa, E.L.; Garba, M.; Ouattara, M.; Singh, U.; Stewart, Z.P.; Prasad, P.V.V.; Oumarou, I.A.; Neff, J.C. A Comparison of Approaches to Regional Land-Use Capability Analysis for Agricultural LandPlanning. Land 2021, 10, 458. https:// doi.org/10.3390/land10050458