Using multi-criteria decision making in developing a decision support system for land suitability with regard to natural resource management.
This research explores decision making in land suitability with regard to natural resource management, as it is practised in South Africa and internationally. The complexity of the problem leads to the need to use stakeholder analysis and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis which are researched further in the dissertation. A framework for decision making on land suitability is suggested. It is applied experimentally in several case studies on decision making in land suitability with regard to natural resource management. A land suitability analysis provides a typical scenario whereby a hard factual approach such as a GIS with data on soils, climate, rainfall, topography, ecosystems, etc. is combined with socio-economic activities such as agriculture, forestry and nature conservation. Most land suitability analysis is carried out with the aid ofa GIS. However, a GIS is limited to largely objective, spatial data. It is here that multicriteria decision analysis plays an important role by combining the different stakeholder perspectives with socio-economic and scientific data in a comprehensive Decision Support System. In this research, the Analytic Hierarchy Process is used to produce an experimental model on decision making in land suitability and this model is then tested against real life case studies which proves the model to be a valid decision making technique.