Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 1467–1486 | Cite as

GIS-based multi-criteria model for land suitability evaluation of rainfed teff crop production in degraded semi-arid highlands of Northern Ethiopia

  • Araya KahsayEmail author
  • Mitiku Haile
  • Girmay Gebresamuel
  • Muktar Mohammed
Original Article


Teff Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) crop production is essential since it is a major food crop in Ethiopia. This paper presents a teff land suitability evaluation model in Northern semi-arid Ethiopia by using GIS-based multi-criteria decision making analysis (MCDMA) in order to identify areas that best suit sustainable production of the crop. The results showed that 37.59, 56.99 and 5.42% of the area are moderately (S2), marginally (S3) and currently not suitable (N1) for teff crop production. Mean weight diameter, available water capacity, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, exchangeable bases, length of growing period and slope are the major constraints causing serious hurdle for teff production. However, with the application of organic and inorganic fertilizer (especially of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers), tillage, soil and water management practices 2.05, 55.85 and 13.51% changes in suitability from N1 to S3, S3 to S2 and S2 to S1 suitability levels respectively is occurred. This indicates that the area is promising if investments in land and soil managements are made though climate and topographic factors supported by some soil physical and morphological properties are permanently limiting its suitability. GIS-based AHP model is superior for land suitability evaluation of teff crop production in areas with various soil and landscape positions.


Land suitability evaluation Land unit Geographic information system Limiting factors Teff 



We thank Ethiopian Mistry of Education and Haramaya University for supporting this study. Farmers and rural development offices of Hintalo Wajerat district are acknowledged for their support in field work.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resource ManagementDilla UniveristyDillaEthiopia
  2. 2.School of Natural Resources Management and Environmental SciencesHaramaya UniversityDire DawaEthiopia
  3. 3.Department of Land Resources Management and Environmental ProtectionMekelle UniversityMekelleEthiopia
  4. 4.Department of Forest Resources ManagementOda-Bultum UniversityChiroEthiopia

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