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Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118

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GIS-based multicriteria overlay analysis in soil-suitability evaluation for

cotton (Gossypium spp.): A case study in the black soil region of Central India
N. Walke a, G.P. Obi Reddy a,n, A.K. Maji a, S. Thayalan b
National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning, Amravati Road, Nagpur 440 033, India
National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (RC), Hebbal, Bangalore 560 024, India

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this study an attempt was made to characterize the soils of the Ringanbodi watershed, Nagpur
Received 15 June 2011 district, Maharashtra, Central India, for soil-suitability evaluation for cotton using geographic informa-
Accepted 16 August 2011 tion system (GIS)-based multicriteria overlay analysis techniques. The study shows that 8 soil series
Available online 8 September 2011
and 16 soil series associations in the study area and soils were classied into three orders, i.e., Entisol,
Keywords: Inceptisol, and Vertisol. The analysis reveals that the soil associations EF, FG, GH, and HG are
Cotton moderately suitable (S2), DE are marginally to moderately suitable, and CD are marginally (S3)
GIS suitable. However, soils BC are not suitable to marginally suitable (N2S3) and AB are
Landforms unsuitable (N2) for cultivation of cotton. The area analysis shows that for a cotton crop an area
Ringnabodi watershed
about 966.7 ha (49.1%) of TGA is moderately suitable and classied as S2. An area about 469.9 ha
(23.8%) of TGA is marginal to moderately suitable (S3S2). The marginally suitable soils for cotton are
Soil suitability
classied as S3 and cover an area about 35.2 ha (1.8%) of TGA. However, a 172.3 ha (8.7%) area is not
suitable (N2) to marginally suitable (S3) and a 326.9 (16.6%) area is not suitable (N2) for cotton because
of uncorrectable factors like soil depth, slope, etc. The study demonstrated that GIS-based multicriteria
overlay analysis of soil thematic parameters will be of immense help in soil-suitability evaluation for
& 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Land evaluation using a scientic procedure is essential in

assessing the potential and constraints of a given land parcel for
Knowledge of soils, their properties, and spatial distribution is agricultural purposes (Rossiter, 1996). Various approaches of land
indispensable for agricultural development of any region as it evaluation have been developed, and each has a specic metho-
opens opportunities for a more rational management of the land dological procedure (Storie, 1954; Ricquter et al., 1970; FAO,
resources (Van Ranst, 1994). Information on the site character- 1976). The main objective of land evaluation is to appraise the
istics, landforms, and quality of the soils has been recognized as potential of land for alternative kinds of land use by a systematic
an important requirement in the planning process for land- comparison of the requirements of the land use with the
suitability evaluation for different crops. Soil always develops in resources offered by the land (Dent and Young, 1981b). In
an organized manner on any given landform and a very close contemporary land evaluation exercises, the geometric and
association exists between the different slope units of the land- semantic denition of the land units and their performance
forms (Dent and Young, 1981a). Site-specic landform analysis is attributes are typically stored in a geospatial database in GIS.
a prerequisite for studying soils and their mapping in a systematic Statistical and geospatial (GIS) tools are then used to assess the
manner. The task of gathering information on the soils has been land units and to present the results as suitability maps. Multi-
greatly synergized by enhanced spatial and temporal resolutions criteria decision-making forms the concepts, approaches, models,
of remote sensing data (Kudrat et al., 2000; Srivastava and and methods that aid in evaluation and are expressed by weights,
Saxena, 2004). It also helps to overcome the errors associated values, or intensities of preference (Barredo, 1996), which ulti-
with subjectivity in locating and plotting soil boundaries for mately lead to better decisions. In the last decade multicriteria
generating soil maps of inaccessible or hazardous areas. evaluation has received renewed attention in the context of GIS-
based decision-making (Pereira and Duckstein, 1993; Malczewski,
1996), which could be useful in solving conicts for individual or
Corresponding author. Tel.: 91 0712 2500545; fax: 91 0712 2500534.
groups interested in spatial contexts.
E-mail addresses:, Weighted overlay analysis is a component of spatial modeling (G.P.Obi Reddy). using spatial multicriteria evaluation. Weighted overlay analysis

0098-3004/$ - see front matter & 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118 109

assigns more importance to some criteria over others (Hailegebriel, Valenzuela, 1994; Zhou, 1995; Ramalho-Filho et al., 1997). GIS
2007; Zelalem, 2007). It regards the spatial multicriteria analysis allows the construction of models to produce soil-suitability
inclusion of an explicit geographic component and is considered maps from a set of thematic maps (Harasheh, 1994). The potential
different from conventional multicriteria techniques (Girard et al., of the integrated approach in GIS for quantitative land evaluation
2008). In general one of the more important uses of GIS is land use has been demonstrated earlier by several researchers (Beek et al.,
suitability mapping and analysis (Malczewski, 2004). In order to 1997; Merolla et al., 1994). In this study an attempt has been
execute a multicriteria-based decision-making process, it is neces- made to evaluate the soil resources of the Ringnabodi watershed,
sary to generate alternatives and a ranking of alternatives accord- Nagpur district of Maharashtra, Central India, in soil-site suit-
ing to their degree of attractiveness (Janssen and Rietveld, 1990). ability evaluation for cotton using multicriteria overlay analysis
The integration of analytical techniques designed to work with techniques in GIS. The attempt involves analysis of landforms,
multicriteria evaluation problems within GIS could give more characterization of physico-chemical properties of soils, geospa-
functionality to the user (Carver, 1991). Consequently, the integra- tial database generation, and evaluation-based multicriteria over-
tion of multicriteria evaluation within a GIS context helps users to lay analysis techniques in GIS using modied soil-suitability
improve decision-making processes. It is also a powerful approach criteria for cotton (Sehgal et al., 1989a).
to land-suitability assessments (Joerin et al., 2001). Several case
studies have been reported from different terrain segments of the
globe on GIS applications in soil resource management and land-
use planning (Maji et al., 1998; Mc Cloy, 1995). 2. Study area
With advances in information and communication technology,
computer-based decision support models have been developed The study area of the Ringnabodi watershed is located in the
for land evaluation (De La Rosa et al., 1992; Shim et al., 2002). subhumid tropical climate of Nagpur district, Maharashtra, Cen-
Development of a GIS-based thematic database on soils is vital in tral India, and extends from 211060 to 211 080 latitude and 781400
crop-suitability analysis for optimal utilization of available to 781 430 E longitude and it covers an area of about 1971.0 ha
resources (Coleman and Galbraith, 2000). The topographic char- (Fig. 1). The elevation of the area ranges from 400 to 535 m above
acteristics, the climatic conditions, and the soil quality of an area mean sea level (MSL). Geologically the area is covered by different
are the most important determinant parameters of land-suitabil- basaltic lava ows of lower Eocene to Upper Cretaceous (65Ma),
ity evaluations. Land evaluation by map analysis techniques commonly known as Traps. The mean annual temperature is
can be accomplished with GIS (Burrough, 1986, 1987, 1989; 26.6 1C and total annual precipitation is 1099 mm, nearly 87% of
Kalogirou, 2002; Baja et al., 2002). Meijerink et al. (1988) devel- which is received during the southwest monsoon period (June
oped a GIS-based theoretical framework for land evaluation and September). The length of the growing period (LGP) calculated
the same has been applied in a number of studies (Zuviria, using 0.5 PET (FAO, 1976) is about 170 days in a year having a

Fig. 1. Location map of the study area.

110 N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118

distinctive moist (35 days), humid (104 days), and moderately dry (pH 8.2). Excess sodium acetate was removed by washing with 95%
(31 days) period. ethanol until the supernatant had an EC of 4055 mmhos/cm. The
adsorbed sodium was then replaced by the ammonium acetate
(pH 7.0) solution and the sodium concentration from the leachate
3. Materials and methods was determined by ame photometry (Jackson, 1958).

The methodology followed in the study is to achieve the 3.3. Generation of thematic database in GIS
following objectives in order to derive the soil suitability for a
cotton crop. The objectives are: (i) to inventory and characterize The most useful application of GIS in resource data analysis is
the soil resources through remotely sensed data and/or conven- to overlay various thematic maps to derive useful results. The
tional methods and generate various GIS-based thematic maps, factors which could inuence land-suitability evaluation for
which inuence the agriculture potential for cotton, (ii) to cotton have been dened and a thematic database on landforms,
categorize the thematic features based on their potential and slope, rainfall distribution, soil pH, calcium carbonate, electric
limitations with respect to suitability for cotton, and (iii) to adopt conductivity, available phosphorus, organic matter, cation-
the suitable GIS-based model for data integration with the exchange capacity, soil texture, soil depth, and surface stones
relevant logical conditions to identify suitable areas for cotton. has been generated in GIS (AGROMA, 1999). Soil attribute data
were entered and a thematic database was generated keeping the
3.1. Data used in soil resource inventory landform units as a main domain in GIS. Individual columns are
created for various soil parameters with their own domains
In order to delineate distinct landform units, satellite ima- (classes) like depth, slope, drainage, etc. Attribute polygon opera-
geries of Indian Remote Sensing (IRS)IC Linear Image Self tions are applied to generate various themes. Thematic informa-
Scanning (LISS)III with a spatial resolution of 23.5 m pertaining tion on slope, soil erosion, soil drainage, soil texture, surface
to November 1999 and March 2000 of the study area were used in stoniness, coarse fragments, CaCO3, and OC was generated. The
conjunction with topographical sheets (1:50,000 scale). The present study has utilized the analytical capabilities of GIS in the
standard false color composites (FCC) were generated using bands evaluation of soil suitability for cotton.
2, 3, and 4 in Geomatica image analysis software (PCI, 2003). The
satellite imageries were visually interpreted based on textural 3.4. Soil-suitability evaluation using GIS
and tonal variations to analyze and delineate the distinct land-
form units in association with contour crenulations and drainage Some conventional approaches in integration of different para-
parameters. A detailed geomorphological site analysis has been meters are inadequate to visualize complex scenarios in crop-
carried out prior to the soil survey to understand the broad suitability evaluation. In general one of the more important uses of
landforms, land use, and their relationship with soils following GIS is land-use suitability mapping and analysis (Malczewski,
the procedure by Wright (1972, 1973, 1993). Preeld interpreted 2004). In the study, the soil-site suitability for cotton has been
map units were checked and relationships between image char- evaluated as per the methodology given in the FAO framework on
acteristics and landforms were established. Representative ped- land evaluation (FAO, 1976, 1985), modied by Sehgal et al
ons were identied in each landform unit to study the effective (1989a). The FAO framework for land evaluation provides a
soil depth or 150 cm depth, whichever appears earlier. A three- standard set of principles and concepts on which national and
tier approach, viz. image interpretation, eld surveys, and labora- regional land evaluation systems can be constructed. In the FAO
tory investigations, and cartography and GIS, was adopted in the Framework for Land Evaluation (FAO, 1976), each land area is
soil resource inventory, soil data analysis, mapping, and spatial assigned a suitability for a land use, from the 5-member set SA{S1,
database generation in GIS (Sehgal et al., 1989b). S2, S3, N1, N2}{highly suited, moderately suited, marginally suited,
unsuited for economic reasons, unsuited for physical reasons}. The
3.2. Soil prole examination and sample analysis process of assessment of land suitability for cotton involves
matching the requirements of cotton crop with the properties of
Soil proles were studied landform-wise for their morphology the particular land unit. For cotton crop, land unit was created from
(Soil Survey Staff, 1995). From the typifying pedons, samples were the overlay process of the dened theme layers or land qualities on
collected horizon-wise for laboratory characterization. The studied which the suitability is based. Land classed as highly suitable is the
pedons were tentatively classied using the USDA System of Soil best land for the specied use; moderately suitable land is clearly
Classication (Soil Survey Staff, 1999). The analysis of physico- t for the use but has limitations, and marginally suitable land falls
chemical characteristics of soils was carried out in the laboratory. near to (but above) the limit for suitability. Land that is not suitable
A particle size analysis was carried out by the international pipette is clearly impractical to overcome or not at an acceptable form. The
method (Piper, 1966) using sodium hexameta-phosphate as a suitability map has resulted from the spatial overlay of factors in
dispersing agent. The textural class was determined using the the study area. The land qualities are matched with the crop
USDA textural triangle. The bulk density was determined by the requirements and classied into different suitability classes, and a
dry clod coating technique (Black, 1965). Moisture retention at 33 suitability map for cotton was prepared.
and 1500 kPa was determined by using a pressure-plate apparatus Assessment of the land suitability requires integration of a
(Black, 1965). Available water-holding capacity (AWC) in soil was multidisciplinary database. The CROP-suitability model predomi-
determined using expressions modied by Coughlan et al. (1986). nantly uses geographically referenced input data; therefore, a
The soil reaction (pH of 1:2.5 soil water suspension) was deter- linkage with GIS is a prerequisite for its accuracy and efcient use.
mined by a glass electrode pH meter (Jackson, 1958). Electrical A geospatial database on slope, soil depth, soil erosion, soil
conductivity (Ec) of soil water suspension was determined using a drainage, soil texture, surface stoniness, coarse fragments, CaCO3,
conductivity bridge (Richards, 1954). Organic carbon was deter- and OC layers was generated in a GIS framework. A modied
mined by the Walkley and Black rapid titration method (Piper, version of climatic and soil-site suitability criteria for cotton
1950). Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) was estimated by the rapid based on a matching exercise between specic crops or land-
titration method (Piper, 1966). The cation-exchange capacity was use requirements and land attributes was followed (Table 1)
determined by saturation of the soils with 1 N sodium acetate (Sehgal et al., 1989a).
N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118 111

Table 1
Climatic and soil-site suitability criteria for cotton.

Soilsite characteristics Degree of limitation

0 1 2 3 4

(None) (Slight) (Moderate) (Severe) (Very severe)

S1 S2 S3 N1 N2

Climatic characteristics
 Total rainfall (mm) 1200 1000850 850700 700550 o550
 Rainfall growing season (mm) 1000850 850750 750600 600500 o500
 Rainfall during ripening period o 25 25050 5075 75100 4100
 Length of growing period (days) 210180 180150 150120 120100 o100
 Mean temp. growing season (1C) 2826 2624 2422 2220 o24
 Mean max temp. growing season 3532 3228 2826 2624 o24
 Mean min temp. growing eason 34 3034 o 30
 Mean R.H. in growing season o 50 5060 6070 7080 4 80
July (beginning) o1 o1 12 23 34
August (end) o1 12 23 3 4

Site characteristics
 Slope (%) 01 12 23 35 58
 Erosion e0 e1 e2 e2e3 e3
Fine & Mod. Well Well Moderately well Imperfect, somewhat Poor, Very poor
excess excess
Coarse soils Imperfect Imperfect Moderately well Well
 Flooding F0 F0 F0 F1 F2
 PAWC (mm/m) 4200 150200 100150 50100 o 50
 Stoniness (Surface) o3 315 1540 4075 4 75

Soil characteristics
 Texture c,sc (ne) cl,sicl,sc,sic(s) (F,loamy, l,sil,csl,scl (F.loamy, sl,ls,fs (coarse loamy) s (sandy) c (m), sic(m)
F.silty) (
Coarse fragments (Vol %)
within 50 cm o5 515 1540 4075 475
below 50 cm 515 1540 4075 475
 Depth (cm) 4120 120180 8050 5025 o25
 CaC03 (%) o 10 1020 2030 3040 4 40
 Gypsum (%) o3 35 510 1015 1525 425

Soil fertility
 CEC (soil)(cmol(p )kg1) 412 812 o8 o8
 BS 480 5080 3550 o35
 O.C. (%) Kaol soil 42 1.02.0 0.51.0 o0.5
(015 cm) Non Kaol 41.0 1.00.5 o 0.5
 ECe (dS m  1) o2 24 48 815 4 15
Loamy texture o 10 1015 1525 2540 4 40
Fine texture o5 510 1015 1525 4 25

Modied version of earlier model based on multivariate regression yield model (after Sehgal et al. (1989a)).

Matching of the land attributes with specic crop growth in the model. After assigning of the weights, the nine parameters
requirements and denition of the preliminary suitability classes were integrated and the nal map was generated, and thus we
was worked out. The soil-suitability analysis process was designed obtained the cumulative values for the class-wise weights assigned
in GIS to integrate different thematic information. It allows users to in the input parameters. The multicriteria overlay analysis model
assign relative priority to the importance of each piece of informa- uses the theme-wise weights basically to assign the importance of
tion in the overall suitability with knowledge-based criteria and each input theme in calculating the overall suitability cumulative
other environmental factors needed for the suitability analysis value. In the composite layer, the higher the cumulative value, the
(Totolo, 1995; AGROMA, 1999). In GIS following a relative suitability least suitable the soil unit, whereas, the lower the cumulative value,
class, the classes in different layers were classied based on their the higher the suitably of the unit. Based on the relative cumulative
suitability class in a scale 05. The relative classes consist of highly values the nal map was reclassied and various suitability classes
suitable (S1), moderately suitable (S2), marginally suitable (S3), and for cotton were delineated. In the nal map, if the cumulative value
not suitable (N). A multicriteria overlay analysis model was is less than 7, it was categorized as highly suitable (S1); if the value
adopted in GIS to assign the class and theme-wise weights for input is between 8 and 12 it was categorized as moderately suitable (S2);
parameters and the weighted layers were integrated. In the multi- if the value is between 13 and 17, it was categorized as marginally
criteria overlay analysis model in GIS, the effective nine parameters suitable (S3) and if the cumulative value is more than 18, it was
were considered. The class and theme-wise weights were assigned classied as not suitable (N2).
112 N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118

4. Results conditions. The soils of denuded plateau spurs, foot slopes, upper
and lower sectors of main valley side slopes, and narrow drainage
4.1. Landform characterization oor are dark brown to very dark grayish brown (10 YR hues). The
texture of the soils varies from clay loam to clay because of ne-
The distinct landforms identied in the watershed are summit grained basaltic parent material. The soils on summit crest,
crest, escarpments, isolated mounds, denuded plateau spurs, foot escarpment, isolated mounds, denuded plateau spurs, and foot
slopes, main valley side slopes, upper sector, lower sector, and slope have a clay loam texture throughout the depth, while the
narrow drainage oor. The summit crest occurs almost all along soils developed on lower elevations where the ner particles are
the perimeter of the watershed and occupies the highest position transported and deposited at stabilized slope result in a high clay
with slope varying between 1% and 3%. Escarpments occurs content (Sharma and Roychaudhari, 1988). It is observed that
immediately below the summit crest with steep slopes predomi- medium strong to medium moderate subangular blocky struc-
nating (3050%). Rigorous slope-wash processes dominate due to tures were found in soils A, C, D, E, and H. In soils F and G
the presence of the extreme steep slope. Isolated mounds are subangular blocky structures were found in only the surface
found mainly on the lower central portion of the watershed and horizon but in the subsurface horizon angular blocky structures
they are dissected and denuded in nature. Denuded plateau spurs were found which are wedge-shaped natural structural aggre-
occur mainly on the western portion of the study area, immedi- gates. This may be due to swell-shrink phenomenon of smectitic
ately below the summit crests and escarpments. Foot slopes occur clay present in these soils.
immediately below the escarpments, mostly as an elongated zone The physical characteristics of soils reveal that the soils
with slopes from 3% to 8%. This unit has been subdivided as upper developed on summit crest, escarpment, isolated mounds, and
and lower sectors based on the difference in relief amplitude denuded plateau spurs are shallow ( o50 cm) and cover
position in topo-sequence and differences in geomorphic pro- 1004.3 ha of area (51%) of TGA. Upper and lower sectors of main
cesses. The upper sector occurs immediately below the denuded valley side slopes and narrow drainage oors are deep to very
plateau spurs. The slope angles are much shallower, having deep ( 4100 cm) and cover an area of about 49% of TGA. The
concave curvatures. Lower sector is the zone of obstruction of coarse fragments are more in soil A and soil B which are at a
drainage networks wherein the fourth order deeper colluvic- higher elevation than the soils formed on a lower elevation like
alluvial lls. This subunit has an average slope of about 35%. soils C, D, E, F, G, and H. The presence of coarse fragments is
Narrow drainage oor occurs on the lowest portion of the study directly related to a topographic situation on a sequence (Challa
area on either side bordered by lower sectors of the main valley and Gaikawad, 1986). The particle size distribution shows that
side slopes (Fig. 2). the majority of the soils have a fairly high amount of clay
compared to sand and silt fractions. Soils F and G, which represent
4.2. Soil morphological and physico-chemical properties the upper and lower sectors of main valley side slopes and soil H,
which represents the narrow drainage 195 oor have a higher
The eld survey reveals that soils pertaining to summit crest, clay content amounting to 62%, 60%, and 50%, respectively. In
escarpments, and isolated mounds show dark brown (7.5 YR general, the increasing trend of clay is observed down the
hues) colors, which may be due to the release of an oxidized form slope but a narrow drainage oor, which is situated at a much
of iron resulting from weathering-limited and well-drained lower position than the lower sectors has a lesser clay percentage.

Fig. 2. Landforms map of study area.

N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118 113

The bulk density values of soils vary from 1.33 to1.79 mg/m3. The soils of the study area are very low in soluble salt concentration
variation in bulk density of these shrink-swell soils varies with with electrical conductivity ranging between 0.07 and
moisture content and may be due to a high content of an 0.2 dS m  1. This suggests that soils have no salinity hazards. It
expanding type of clay minerals present. The increase of bulk indicates that these soils are free from salts and hence they are
density with soil depth may be due to overburdening pressure responsive to fertilizer and management practices (Richards,
causing compaction in the subsurface horizons (Ahuja et al., 1954). The organic carbon content in the soils of the study area
1988). Similar results have been reported by many authors from ranges from 0.85 to 0.21%. Soil B contains more organic carbon
clay texture soils of Central India (Dhale and Jagdish Prasad, 2009; than other soils because of fallow and vegetative cover on the
Lingade et al., 2008). The surface soils are less compact probably surface (Table 3). Soils in the study area are developed from
due to a high amount of organic matter and plant root concentra- basaltic parent material and have a calcium carbonate range of
tion (Coughlan et al., 1986). The AWC values in the study area 5.024.8%. The increasing trend for calcium carbonate content is
vary from 97.9 to 199.5 mm and are related to clay content and found to be associated with decreasing topographic situations
organic matter. The AWC values have been found to increase with (Kaushal et al., 1986). Cation-exchange capacity of soils varies
increasing depth and clay content of the soils (Antony et al., from 26.6 to 57.1 cmol(p)kg  1 and they are related to clay and
1981). The soils on the denuded plateau spurs have low AWC and organic matter content. These high values of CEC are attributed to
soils on narrow drainage oors have high AWC with an area of the smectite type of clay minerals and high amounts of clay (Pal
43% of TGA. These soils with medium AWC are spread over area of and Deshpande, 1987). The sum of the exchangeable bases (Ca2 ,
about 24.3% of TGA. Low AWC is found in undulating lands, which Mg2 , Na , and K 226) contributes nearly 90% of the cation-
cover an area around 32.6% of TGA (Table 2). exchange capacity of these soils. The presence of these bases in
The chemical characteristics of soils shows that the overall pH sufcient quantity in the soil is favorable for plant growth. In the
values of the studied soils range from 6.0 to 8.3, suggesting that soils of the study area the major dominant cation is Ca2 . It varies
soils are slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. It may be concluded between 12.7 and 38.5 cmol(p)kg  1. In all the soils the domi-
that the pH of the soils decreases with increasing altitude (Minhas nant cation is Ca2 followed by magnesium, potassium, and
and Bora, 1982). The data on electrical conductivity show that the sodium. Magnesium varies between 3.6 and 14.3 cmol(p)kg  1.

Table 2
Physical properties of soils.

Horizon Depth (cm) Coarse Particle size distribution Textural class Bulk density Moisture retention AWC (%) AWC (mm)
fragment (%) (Mg m  3)
Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) 33 kPa (%) 1500 kPa (%)

Pedon 1 SoilA: Summit crest (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Ustorthents)

A 06 51 35.4 25.5 39.1 cl 1.58 37.9 29.2 8.7 137.4
Ac 633 61 34.8 25.4 39.8 cl 1.62 37.4 28.9 8.5 137.7

Pedon 2 SoilB: Escarpment (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Ustorthents)

A1 011 48 38.5 28.5 33.0 cl 1.41 28.9 21.7 7.2 101.5
Ac 1145 27 35.5 28.0 36.5 cl 1.37 36.3 28.5 7.8 106.8

Pedon 3 SoilC : Isolated mounds (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Haplustepts)

Ap 015 34 36.2 25.2 38.6 cl 1.59 24.7 17.7 7.0 111.3
Bw 1527 25 29.2 31.5 39.3 cl 1.45 36.3 26.2 10.1 146.4

Pedon 4 SoilD: Denuded plateau spurs (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplustepts)
A 014 3 38.4 25.1 36.5 cl 1.66 24.0 16.0 8.0 132.8
Bw1 1425 40 37.4 23.1 39.5 cl 1.68 18.5 14.4 4.1 68.8
Bw2 2546 48 27.0 32.5 40.5 cl 1.67 22.7 16.2 6.5 108.5

Pedon 5 SoilE: Foot slopes (Fine, loamy. Mixed, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplustepts)
Ap 012 17 42.2 26.3 31.5 cl 1.44 25.0 18.2 6.8 97.9
Bw1 1228 20 45.6 19.4 35.0 cl 1.36 33.4 22.6 10.8 146.8
Bw2 2840 35 43.1 18.4 38.5 cl 1.42 30.0 21.0 9.0 127.8
Bw3 4058 29 48.9 22.6 28.5 cl 1.46 26.8 19.5 7.3 106.5
Bw4 5881 13 42.4 28.1 29.5 cl 1.38 33.3 21.5 11.8 162.8
Bw5 81120 20 38.6 29.8 31.6 cl 1.33 30.9 18.5 12.4 164.9
Bc 120140 47 36.6 26.9 36.5 cl 1.38 26.4 17.8 8.6 118.6

Pedon 6 SoilF: Upper sector of main valleyside slopes (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplusterts)
Ap 017 21 19.4 22.6 58.0 c 1.65 30.9 23.1 7.8 128.7
Bw 1735 33 16.0 13.5 70.5 c 1.75 42.6 33.6 9.0 157.5
Bss1 3550 24 15.7 18.3 66.0 c 1.77 48.9 39.0 9.9 175.2
Bss2 5096 23 22.6 20.9 56.5 c 1.79 38.9 29.2 9.7 173.6
Bc 96120 25 22.9 30.1 47.0 c 1.58 36.4 25.6 10.8 170.6

Pedon 7 SoilF: Lower sector of main valleyside slopes (Very ne, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplusterts)
Ap 018 12 12.7 29.7 57.6 c 1.71 40.0 29.0 11.0 188.1
Bw 1847 19 9.3 24.4 66.3 c 1.76 45.8 35.2 10.7 188.3
Bss1 4770 12 10.8 22.7 66.5 c 1.78 46.7 35.6 11.1 197.5
Bss2 70105 39 13.4 35.6 51.0 c 1.66 40.6 32.8 7.9 131.1

Pedon 8 SoilH: Narrow drainage oors (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Vertic Haplustepts)
Ap 016 3 39.4 17.4 43.2 c 1.71 23.2 13.3 9.9 169.2
Bw1 1631 2 36.4 16.0 47.6 c 1.73 25.3 15.4 9.9 171.2
Bw2 3145 15 33.5 17.2 49.3 c 1.75 26.7 16.9 9.8 171.1
Bw3 4574 33 31.5 18.7 49.8 c 1.74 15.3 6.6 8.7 151.3
Bc 74125 38 29.5 20.2 51.5 c 1.75 35.6 24.2 11.4 199.5
114 N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118

Soil exhibits a slight variation in its base saturation percentage 4.3. Soil-site suitability evaluation for cotton
(88.097.1%). High values of exchangeable calcium and magne-
sium are the cations contributing to this base saturation. In order to evaluate the soil-site suitability for cotton, the
Based on eld morphology and laboratory characterization, results obtained on climate and soil parameters in the study area
eight distinct soils have been identied and classied into three are summarized in Table 4. The class and theme-wise weights
orders, viz. Entisol, Inceptisol, and Vertisol (Soil Survey Staff, assigned in the multicriteria overlay analysis model in GIS for the
1999). As per the International Union of Soil Sciences Working input parameters in soil-suitability evaluation and the cumulative
Group WRB (2006), the identied three soil orders in the study weight of parameters are shown in Table 5. The GIS-based
area have been classied as Leptosols, Cambisols, and Vertisols. analysis reveals that soils EF, FG, GH, and HG with moderate
Soil A and soil B, which are formed on summit crest and limitations of relative humidity in the growing season, slope, and
escarpment, respectively, qualify for the order Entisols and drainage rank moderately suitable (S2) for cotton. Soils DE with
classied under subgroup Lithic Ustorthents. Soils C, D, E, and H severe to moderate limitations of depth and organic carbon are
are classied under order Inceptisols; soil C formed on isolated marginally to moderately (S3S2) suitable. Soils CD with severe
mounds is classied under subgroup Lithic Haplustepts; soil D limitations of depth and slope are marginally (S3) suitable.
and soil E formed on denuded plateau spurs and footslopes, However, soils BC are not suitable to marginally suitable
respectively, are classied under subgroup Typic Haplustepts; (N2S3) and AB are unsuitable (N2) for cultivation of cotton
and soil H developed on narrow drainage oors is classied under due to severe erosion and shallow depth (Fig. 4). The limitations
subgroup Vertic Haplustepts. Two soils, soils F and G, developed of soil depth and coarse fragments are uncorrectable while those
on upper and lower sectors of main valley side slopes, respec- pertaining to fertility and erosion can be corrected by the
tively, are classied under the order Vertisols and subgroup Typic application of amendments and introducing improved agronomic
Haplusterts (Fig. 3). and conservation practices. The area analysis reveals that for a

Table 3
Chemical properties of soils.

Horizon Depth pH EC CaCO3 OC Exchangeable cations Sum of cations CEC (cmol ESP BSP
(cm) (1:2.5) (1:2.5) (%) (%) (cmol(p )kg  1) (p )kg  1) (%) (%)
(dS m1) Ca2 Mg2 Na K
(cmol(p )kg  1) (cmol(p )kg  1) (cmol(p )kg  1) (cmol(p )kg  1)

Pedon 1 SoilA: Summit crest (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Ustorthents)

A 06 6.3 0.20 Nil 0.55 28.0 3.6 0.27 2.16 34.1 36.1 0.74 94.5
Ac 633 6.6 0.13 Nil 0.51 30.0 3.9 0.21 0.82 35.6 37.1 0.56 95.9

Pedon 2 SoilB: Escarpment (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Ustorthents)

A1 011 6.3 0.14 Nil 0.97 17.8 9.7 0.21 0.48 28.2 30.0 0.7 94.0
Ac 1145 6.0 0.06 Nil 0.82 19.3 10.8 0.42 0.12 30.7 33.0 1.27 93.2

Pedon 3 SoilC: Isolated mounds (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic Lithic Haplustepts)

Ap 015 6.4 0.06 Nil 0.80 14.8 9.9 0.21 0.96 25.9 26.6 0.78 97.5
Bw 1527 6.4 0.15 Nil 0.72 21.2 11.4 0.42 0.24 33.3 34.5 1.21 96.6

Pedon 4 SoilD : Denuded plateau (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplustepts)
A 014 7.7 0.11 4.9 0.40 23.3 6.4 0.29 1.18 31.2 33.9 0.85 92.1
Bw1 1425 7.9 0.11 4.9 0.22 25.6 4.9 0.92 0.55 32.0 34.9 2.63 91.6
Bw2 2546 8.1 0.12 5.2 0.19 26.2 6.0 0.53 0.75 33.6 36.8 1.44 91.3

Pedon 5 SoilE: Foot slopes (Fine, loamy. Mixed, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplustepts)
Ap 012 7.1 0.15 5.7 0.70 22.0 4.5 0.48 0.60 27.7 30.2 1.58 91.4
Bw1 1228 7.7 0.16 6.5 0.38 22.3 6.5 0.70 1.07 30.7 33.4 2.09 91.6
Bw2 2840 7.8 0.15 6.1 0.43 22.4 7.3 0.80 1. 09 31.7 35.1 2.27 90.2
Bw3 4058 7.8 0.15 5.8 0.24 16.3 7.6 0.81 0. 98 25.7 27.2 2.97 94.2
Bw4 5881 7.8 0.18 6.7 0.32 12.7 8.8 0.97 1.08 23.6 25.6 3.78 92.2
Bw5 81120 7.9 0.22 11.7 0.11 13.7 9.1 0.07 0.48 24.4 27.0 3.96 90.4
Bc 120140 7.8 0.19 12.3 0.19 12.9 9.2 1.24 1.01 24.4 26.9 4.06 90.7

Pedon 6 SoilF: Upper sector of main valleyside slopes (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplusterts)
Ap 017 8.2 0.15 23.4 0.72 34.9 10.6 0.19 0.84 46.5 51.2 0.37 90.8
Bw 1735 8.2 0.14 22.2 0.68 35.5 11.2 0.62 0.42 47.7 53.8 1.15 88.8
Bss1 3550 8.3 0.14 26.2 0.64 36.0 12.3 0.81 0.37 49.5 54.8 1.47 90.3
Bss2 5096 8.4 0.13 25.8 0.49 32.7 13.5 0.94 0.26 47.5 56.4 1.66 84.3
Bc 96120 8.5 0.14 25.4 0.32 22.7 12.0 0.86 0.06 35.6 39.1 2.19 91.2

Pedon 7 SoilG : Lower sector of main valleyside slopes (Very ne, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Typic Haplusterts)
Ap 018 7.6 0.16 10.5 0.60 38.5 10.3 0.44 0.36 49.6 53.7 0.81 92.5
Bw 1847 7.6 0.18 12.0 0.45 36.1 12.3 0.91 0.38 49.7 54.4 1.67 91.3
BSS1 4770 7.8 0.19 16.5 0.39 35.6 14.0 1.27 0.84 51.7 57.1 2.22 90.4
BSS2 70105 7.9 0.25 18.7 0.28 28.2 14.3 1.3 0.30 44.1 48.1 2.69 91.7

Pedon 8 Soil H : Narrow drainage oors (Fine, smectitic, hyperthermic (cal) Vertic Haplustepts)
AP 016 7.6 0.15 6.8 0.58 31.7 6.2 0.22 0.75 38.9 42.1 0.52 92.4
BW1 1631 7.7 0.15 6.8 0.32 33.3 7.1 0.56 0.78 41.7 46.0 1.21 90.7
BW2 3145 7.8 0.16 10.3 0.28 33.4 7.7 0.62 0.81 42.6 46.9 1.32 90.8
BW3 4574 7.9 0.14 19.6 0.15 31.3 6.9 0.47 0.56 39.3 42.5 1.1 92.5
BC 74125 7.8 0.17 20.9 0.09 35.4 6.7 0.78 1.20 47.1 50.5 1.54 93.2
N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118 115

Fig. 3. Soil map of study area.

Table 4
Soil site characteristics of studied soils.

Soil A B C D E F G H

Climatic characteristics
 Total rainfall (mm) 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7 1098.7
 Rainfal growing season (mm) 989 989 989 989 989 989 989 989
 Length of growing period (days) 170 170 170 170 170 170 170 170
 Mean temp. growing season (1C) 26.8 26.8 26.8 26.8 26.8 26.8 26.8 26.8
 Mean max temp.growing season (1C) 32.1 32.1 32.1 32.1 32.1 32.1 32.1 32.1
 Mean min temp. growing eason (1C) 25.5 25.5 25.5 25.5 25.5 25.5 25.5 25.5
 Mean R.H. in growing season 65.08 65.08 65.08 65.08 65.08 65.08 65.08 65.08

Site characteristics
 Slope (%) 38 3050 13 815 38 38 38 01
 Erosion e3 e4 e2 e2 e2 e2 e2 e1
 Drainage Excessive Excessive Well Somewhat excessive Well Mod. well Mod. well Mod. well
 Flooding F0 F0 F0 F0 F0 F0 F0 F0
 AWC (mm/m) 137 104 127 105 139 164 171 177
 Stoniness (Surface) 4075 1540 315 o3 o3 o3 o3 o3

Soil characteristics
 Texture C1 C1 C1 C1 C1 C C C
 Coarse fragments (Vol%)
within 50 cm 59 32 29 33 20 20 15 7
below 50 cm 5 6 9 18
 Depth (cm) 33 45 27 46 140 120 105 125
 CaC03 (%) Nil Nil Nil 5.0 8.6 24.8 14.9 15.9
 Gypsum (%)
Soil fertility
 CEC (soil) (cmol(p )kg  1) 36.9 32.2 30.1 35.5 28.5 51.6 52.8 46.7
 BS 95.7 93.4 97.1 91.6 91.4 88.0 91.4 92.4
 O.C. (%) Kaol soil 0.5 0.8 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.4 0.2
 ECe (dS m  1) 0.14 0.07 0.1 0.11 0.18 0.13 0.2 0.15
pH (1:2.5) 6.5 6.0 6.4 7.9 7.7 8.3 7.7 7.7

cotton crop an area about 966.7 ha (49.1%) of TGA is moderately about 35.2 ha (1.8%) of TGA. However, 172.3 ha (8.7%) area is not
suitable and classied as S2. An area about 469.9 ha (23.8%) of suitable (N2) to marginally suitable (S3) and 326.9 (16.6%) area is
TGA is marginal to moderately suitable (S3S2). The marginally not suitable (N2) for cotton because of uncorrectable factors such
suitable soils for cotton are classied as S3 and cover an area as soil depth and slope.
116 N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118

Table 5
Class and theme wise weights for the studied soils in multi-criteria overlay in GIS.

Soil A B C D E F G H Layer weight

Site characteristics
 Slope (%) 3 4 2 3 2 2 2 0 15
 Erosion 3 4 2 2 2 2 2 1 15
 Drainage 4 4 0 3 0 2 2 2 15
 Flooding 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 Stoniness (Surface) 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 10

 Texture 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 10
 Coarse fragments (vol%) 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 5
 Depth (cm) 3 3 3 3 0 0 1 0 20
 CaC03 (%) 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 5

Soil fertility
 CEC (soil) (cmol(p )kg  1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 BS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 O.C. (%) Kaol soil 2 2 2 3 3 1 3 3 5
 ECe (dS m  1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 Cumulative value 22 22 13 17 10 12 12 8
 Suitability class for dominant soil N2 N2 S3 S3 S2 S2 S2 S2
 Suitability class for soil association N2N2 N2S3 S3S3 S3S2 S2S2 S2S2 S2S2 S2S2

If the cumulative value o7 S1; 812 S2; 1317S3 and 418 N2.
S1, highly suitable; S2, moderately suitable; S3, marginally suitable; and N2, not suitable.

Fig. 4. Soil suitability for cotton.

5. Discussion content with massive structures, and coarse loamy/sandy soils are
considered to be critical for cotton cultivation (Sehgal, 1990). In
The analysis of morphological and physico-chemical proper- soils even with a deep rooting system the maximum yield could,
ties of the pedons surveyed shows that they are strongly linked however, be obtained in soils having 200 mm or more of plant-
not only to the climate but also to their position in the landscape. available water capacity (PAWC). The major limitation in cotton
The black cotton soils are not necessarily the most suitable soils, cultivation is water logging. For successful growth of cotton, a soil
since these clayey soils, rich in montmorillonite, are difcult to depth of 100200 cm has been observed to be optimum while less
manage, being too sticky when wet and too hard when dry to than 100 cm depth is not economical for a good growth of cotton
produce a good tilth. Under rain-fed conditions, cotton has been (Bhaskar et al., 1987; Sehgal, 1991).
observed to give the best yield in deep, ne textured soils having The analytical capabilities of GIS used in this study in combi-
a good structure. Very ne soils, having 60% or more of clay nation with state-of-the-art overlay analysis methods helped to
N. Walke et al. / Computers & Geosciences 41 (2012) 108118 117

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