Site Selection for Cultivation of the Bioenergy Crop, Salicornia bigelovii in Abu Dhabi Emirate Using GIS: Land Suitability and Assessment

  • Wafa Faisal Al Yamani

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Agricultural land is now one of the largest ecosystems on the planet, covering 30-40 per cent of the ice- free land surface. Recent decades have seen a significant expansion of the global agricultural area, and a marked intensification of agricultural land use. With the increasing populations, further agricultural expansion over the coming decades will occur. However, the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) has indicated that opportunities for future expansion of agricultural land are decreasing given that most lands that are well suited to cultivation have already been converted. The increasing populations have also lead to another significant issue, which is the increasing demand for fuel with all its environmental repercussions. Production of biofuel was thought to address this issue, but soon the debate of land use for food or for fuel has risen. Land use planning and evaluation is a key process which helps in land use determination for biofuel or food production or other uses. For best utilization of land, the land should be evaluated for its natural capacity and its potential for specific use before it is used. Site selection becomes a key factor in any agricultural operation, affecting both success and sustainability as well as solving conflicts between different activities and making rational use of the land. This study was conducted to identify potential sites in Abu Dhabi Emirate for Salicornia bigelovii cultivation, a bioenergy crop for biofuel production. Salicornia bigelovii will be irrigated with seawater on marginal land to ensure no competition with conventional crops. Thus, a set of land criteria for sustainable Salicornia cultivation is determined first. Then, by using the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the FAO suitability classes, the land suitability map for Salicornia bigelovii cultivation in Abu Dhabi is generated.
Date of Award2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorScott Kennedy (Supervisor)


  • Bioengineering

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