Oil palm suitability assessment in the northern region of Sarawak using Geographic Information System and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process approach
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Oil palm plantation in Malaysia has been developed on a vast scale due to the tremendous need for crude palm oil. However, the accelerated development of oil palm plantations produced predicaments, such as monoculture cultivation, water quality deterioration, and loss of creatures' habitats to Malaysia, including Sarawak. The Sarawak government has appointed 2 million hectares of state's land for oil palm plantation, of which 1.2 million hectares have already been established. However, oil palm suitability assessment is lacking in Sarawak. Hence, it is important to assess oil palm plantation's suitability in an area with the likelihood of further expanding for oil palm plantation in Sarawak. The suitability assessment is aimed to promote the oil palm industry's sustainability. The research aims to conduct a land-use suitability assessment in a region with established oil palm plantations around Kabuloh, Miri, the Sarawak's Northern Region. A Geographic Information System was implemented to evaluate the suitability of oil palm cultivation in the study area. The assessment result showed that 78% of the study area is suitable for oil palm plantations. The developed oil palm suitability map could be utilized as a decision support tool to develop comprehensive planning for future oil palm expansion.
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