Sustainable strategies for the improvement of seriously degraded agricultural areas: The example of Pistachia vera L

EC Environment - Life Programme

With the contribution of the LIFE + financial instrument of the European Union

Land Suitability Maps for the distribution of pistachio waste

By Dr. Maria K. Doula

Benaki Phytopathological Institute

General aspects

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO (1976):

Land evaluation is the process of estimating the potential of land for alternative kinds of land use so that the consequences of change can be predicted, while

Land suitability is the fitness of a given area for a land utilisation type (or land use), or the degree to which it satisfies the land user. It is generally presented as a class or rating.

Where a landscape characteristic does not meet the requirements for a particular land use, it constitutes a potential limitation or ‘constraint’. Constraints are commonly rated to express the degree of severity to which they may impair land use. Internationally recognised suitability classes outlined by FAO can be adapted and applied at both regional and local scale. Adapted FAO (1976) suitability classes, as cited in Van Gool (2008), are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Land Suitability Classes (FAO, 1976)

Suitability Classes

Description

S1

Highly Suitable

Land having no significant limitations to sustained application for a given land use or only minor limitations. Nil to minor negative economic, environmental, health and/or social outcomes.

S2

Moderately Suitable

Land having limitations which in aggregate are moderately severe for sustained application of a given land use. Appreciably inferior to S1 land. Potential negative economic, environmental, health and/or social outcomes if not adequately managed.

S3

Marginally suitable

Land having limitations which in aggregate are severe for sustained application of a given use. Moderate to high risk of negative economic, environmental, health and/or social outcomes if not adequately managed.

N1

Not Suitable

Land having limitations, which may be insurmountable. Limitations are so severe as to preclude successful sustained use of the land. Very high risk of negative economic, environmental and/or social outcomes if not managed.

N2

Not Suitable

Land having limitations which appear so severe as to preclude any possibilities of successful sustained use of the land in the given manner. Almost certain risk of significant negative economic, environmental and/or social outcomes

For the purpose of pistachio waste landspreading, the FAO principles and guidelines were conformed to the specific circumstances while generally accepted restrictions for waste landspreading have been considered, as well (MAFF, 1989; Soil Science Society of America, 1986).

Factors considered for the definition of the parameters that should be assessed in cases of pistachio wastewater or solid waste landspreading are (1) physical and chemical characteristics of potential areas for waste landspreading (2) soil indicators that have been developed during AgroStrat Project for the evaluation of soil quality at pistachio cultivation and pistachio waste disposal areas (Doula et al., 2013), and (3) wastewater and solid waste properties.

The soil/area physical characteristics of concern are:

  • Drainage
  • Slope
  • Soil depth
  • Infiltration rate
  • Erosion level
  • On-site waste management (combines texture, soil depth, slope, surface gravel and drainage-Considered only for the case of wastewater)
  • Salinity

The soil/area chemical characteristics and soil indicators (*) of concern are:

  • Exchangeable Sodium Percentage (ESP)
  • Cation exchange capacity (C.E.C.)
  • Total Nitrogen*
  • Available Phosphorus*
  • Exchangeable Potassium*
  • Available Copper*
  • Available Zinc*
  • Total Polyphenols*

*These soil parameters were defined during AgroStrat project as the most sensitive to describe changes in soil quality due to pistachio waste disposal.

Land Suitability Maps for Solid Pistachio Waste Landspreading

GIS maps were developed to assist the decision on the suitability of land to accept solid pistachio waste. Suitability maps were developed for each one of the soil parameters that were found to be affected mostly by pistachio wastes, as well as for the natural areas characteristics (i.e. slope, drainage, etc). Considering the specific limitations for these characteristics and parameters, the overall Land Suitability Map for solid pistachio waste land spreading was developed. Maps are included in the Cultivation Management Software to assist decision making regarding reuse or disposal of pistachio wastes. 

Map 1: Land Suitability for landspreading of pistachio solid waste

 

The suitability maps for each soil indicator that follow can be used in combination with the Suitability Map to define suitable and unsuitable areas and to estimate the appropriate amount of waste to be distributed considering the content of Zinc, Copper, Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus in soil.

Map 2: Suitability Map for land spreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil available Zinc content

 

Map 3: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil total Nitrogen content

Map 4: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil available Phosphorus content

 

Map 5: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil exchangeable Potassium content

 

Map 6: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil available Copper content

 

Land Suitability Maps for Pistachio Wastewater Landspreading

By following the same methodology as for the solid pistachio waste, the respective Suitability Maps were derived for the landspreading of pistachio wastewater.

Map 7: Land Suitability for landspreading of pistachio wastewater

Map 8: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio wastewater as per soil available Zinc content

Map 9: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil total Nitrogen content

 

Map 10: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil available Phosphorus content

 

Map 11: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil exchangeable Potassium content

 

Map 12: Suitability Map for landspreading of pistachio solid waste as per soil available Copper content

 

 

References

  • FAO. (1976). A Framework for Land Evaluation. Soil Resources Management and Conservation Service Land and Water Development Division. FAO Soil Bulletin No. 32. FAO-UNO, Rome.
  • Van Gool, D., Maschmedt, D., McKenzie, N. (2008). ‘Conventional Land Evaluation’ in NJ.
  • MAFF, Dept. of Environment. (1989). Code of Practice for agricultural use of sewage sludge. London.
  • Soil Science Society of America (1986). Utilization, treatment and disposal of waste on land.Proc. of a workshop held in Chicago, 6-7 December, U.S.A.
  • Doula, M.K., Kavvadias, V., Elaiopoulos, K. (2013). Proposed soil indicators for Olive Mill Waste (OMW) disposal areas. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 224, 1621-1632.

How data should be cited

Data and Maps should be cited as: Doula M.K. (2015). LIFE AgroStrat project: Processing and Evaluation of soil data for the development of Land Suitability Maps of Aegina Island, Greece for pistachio waste landspreading (http://www.agrostrat.gr/en/suitabilityMaps).

Contributors 

Soil sampling and soil characterization: Dr. S. Theocharopoulos, Ch. Kolovos (ELGO DEMETER)

GIS mapping: A. Hliaoutakis (Institute of Mediterranean Studies-FORTH)

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