Assessment of land use suitability for natural rubber using GIS in the U-tapao River basin, Thailand
The assessment of available land resources for crops is an essential step in achieving sustainability in agricultural development. Thailand has been the world's leading rubber producing country since the 1990s. This research was conducted to assess the land use suitability for rubber trees in the U-tapao River basin. A geographical information system and multi-criteria decision making were used in parallel to establish the suitability of land for use as rubber plantations in accordance with the Food & Agriculture Organization framework. Various bio-physical and socio-economic factors were considered together with expert opinion. The weighting of each factor was conducted using an analytic hierarchy process. This study concluded that 14.46 percent of the basin area was highly suitable for rubber, 84.48 percent was moderately suitable, and the remainder was less suitable or unsuitable for the cultivation of rubber. This research will facilitate designing agriculture policies for sustainable agriculture development of the region.