Suitability assessment of Saffron cultivation using GIS based multi-criteria decision analysis approach; study area: East-Azerbaijan province


1 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran

2 Department of Physical Geography, Centre for Remote Sensing and GIS, University of Tabriz


     In the way of finding economic and tolerable plant to the arid and semi-arid climatic conditions and prevent desertification in these areas, this study aims to assess Agro-climatic suitability for producing Saffron in East-Azerbaijan province based on Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial analysis technique. For this goal, several criteria including soil conditions, climatological indicators, topography situation and agro-climatology criteria were taken into account of modeling process. For this to happen, standardization process was performed on criteria and weighting process was done by using of Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. GIS based Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) was employed for weighted overlapping of indicators and results were achieved based on GIS-MCDA method.  Initial results indicated that East-Azerbaijan province has potential for cultivating of Saffron.  Our research results indicated that about 42.7 percentage (1954416.9 ha) of this province has high suitability for Saffron producing. While, about 55.4 percentage (2537492.0 ha) of the study area has moderate suitability. In addition, about 1.8 percentage (84643.2 ha) of the study area represents low suitability. The results also indicated that, sum of sun hours and precipitation were supposed as important and limiting factors in the cultivation of this plant respectively. The founds of this research are great of importance for the purpose of regional planning in East-Azerbaijan province and also important in terms of developing methodology for precision agriculture which is one the main aspects of modern agriculture. 


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