Decisions on land use have become progressively more difficult in the last decade. The main reasons for this development lie in the increasing population combined with an increasing demand for new land and resources and in the growing consciousness for sustainable land and resource use. The objective of this paper is to incorporate the concept of multiple land use into geographic information systems (GIS)-based land suitability analysis using the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) approach. The effective environmental factors and vegetation parameters on apiculture were described as map layers within GIS so that each map layer represented one alternative. Three alternative land suitability patterns for beekeeping are presented. The study indicated that decreasing nectar or pollen species and shortening of the flowering period were the most limiting factors in land suitability for beekeeping. In contrast suitable distribution of water resources, the good climate condition and dominant unpalatable species by over grazing with extended flowering period increased the land suitability for beekeeping. Generally, 54% of the area had an acceptable score of excellent suitability for beekeeping. Therefore, apiculture may have an important role in increasing and promoting better land use.
Key words: geographic information systems (GIS), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), land-use suitability analysis, landscape pattern, apiculture.
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