Land Use Suitability Analysis Using Multi Criteria Decision Analysis Method for Coastal Management and Planning: A Case Study of Malaysia
There is an urgent need to evaluate the land use suitability in coastal area because of increasing population, providing place for naturally protective coastal ecosystem and improving cumulative impacts. This study presented an application of multi criteria decision analysis technique as an approach to deal with regional coastal management and planning. Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique has been used to obtain preference weights of land use suitability criteria in a study area located in Marang region in Malaysia. AHP technique is a useful tool to deal with the problem to design the alternatives which optimize the objectives. Furthermore, this technique can be used by researchers to make a precise decision and acceptable personal judgements together with expert knowledge.
November 04, 2011; Accepted: April 19, 2012;
Published: June 12, 2012
Land has been considered as an important natural resource that provides basis
of life to flora and fauna (Giriraj et al., 2008).
The need for information on land has emerged due to the fast growing population
in the world and the rapid growth in coastal cities. Hence, there is an urgent
need to collect data regarding planted areas, preservation of the existing land
sources, other issues on protection of nature and the information about the
coastal area (Ordu and Demir, 2009). The land use change
is an important factor in many risky events like flood, sediment yield and erosion,
ecological and environmental dynamics and soil properties changes (Solaimani
et al., 2009). Human activities along the coast, such as port development,
land reclamation, settlement and sand mining also cause serious damages in coastal
area (Armah, 2011).
Basically, land suitability assessment can be defined as suitability of particular
kinds of land use based on socio-economic and natural attributes. It is similar
to select an appropriate location and the goal is to map a suitability index
for the certain study area (Joerin et al., 2001).
|| Land-use suitability analysis process
It is an important subject of overall land use planning and the fundamental
work, which needs a scientific approach to avoid errors in decision-making,
guide development and over-investment, for sustainable use of land (Yu
et al., 2009).
The general process for land-use suitability analysis is shown in Fig.
1. This process includes grouping and evaluation of specific areas of land
with regard to their suitability for a certain use. The principles of sustainable
development make land-use suitability analysis more complex because of different
criteria consideration (Duc, 2006).
Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) is a well known method to handle land suitability
evaluation. In many situations, it is so difficult to define relative weights
to the different criteria involved in decision making on suitability of land
mapping unit. Hence, it is very important to choose a technique, which allows
an estimation of weights. Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is one of these
techniques. It is a widely used multi criteria techniques in decision making
processes which includes multiple actors, scenarios and criteria. Paruccini
(1994) and Beinat and Nijkamp (1998) noted that MCA
is a decision-making tool which can be applied to evaluate problems where one
is faced with a number of different alternatives and desires to find optimal
solutions in terms of several conflicting criteria. The usefulness of MCA to
support decision making for sustainable development, where conflicting ecological,
societal, economic and technical objectives and multiple interest groups are
involved has been extremely acknowledged (Antunes et
Land suitability maps can help planners. These maps must integrate all the
relevant data for the analysis of the given territory. As long as a significant
amount of work would be necessary to develop these types of maps, they would
be useful for several years and many decisions. Updating the maps would surely
need much less work than was required at first to produce those (Joerin
et al., 2001).
Even though, Malaysia is a comparatively new entrant into tourism activities
as compared to its Asian neighbors, the industry has grown greatly over the
years. In 2005, tourism industry was a key foreign exchange earner for Malaysia,
contributing to over 40% of the countrys balance of payment (EPU,
2006). Malaysias marine assets have always been major draw cards for
attracting tourists to the country. The building of resorts, hotels, chalets
and other form of accommodations in the coastal areas is the most investment
intensive sub-sector of the marine tourism sector. However, development in coastal
area needs the long term sustainability of the sector from economic, social
and environmental points of view (Basiron, 1994).
The environmental costs of resort development in coastal area have a direct
bearing on the sustainability of the projects. Because the main attractions
of coastal area resorts are their natural assets such as; clean beaches, scenic
beauty, unpolluted and clear water and undisturbed coral reefs. Thus, it is
important that in developing these resorts environmental management and nature
conservation be primary issue (Basiron, 1994). We have
faced many environmental, social and economic damages due to unsuitable selection
of area for sustainable activity. Hence, to make a planning decision, suitable
areas for development of building hotels or resorts in the coastal area should
Land-use planners often make complex decisions within a short period of time when they must take into account sustainable development and economic competitiveness. To illustrate the feasibility of this approach, a land suitability map for housing was realized for a small region of Terengganu State. The aim of this study was to apply AHP technique for land-use suitability analysis on coastal area of Marang in Malaysia. This study focused on the usefulness of the AHP as a method for obtaining expert knowledge on environmental systems where qualitative and quantitative aspects of a problem need to be incorporated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The implementation of the whole methodology is expressed through Fig. 2. It shows the integration of MCDA technique in decision making for land use suitability.
Study area: This study was conducted in Marang, Malaysia in the year 2008-2009. Figure 3 shows the considered location within the Peninsular Malaysia. Marang is the region where located in Terengganu state in Peninsular Malaysia. Its people mostly live in coastal towns and fishing villages. It has a 200 mile (320 km) long coastline along the South China Sea.
Analytical hierarchy process (AHP): The AHP is one of the methodological
approaches that may be applied to resolve highly complex decision making problems
involving multiple scenarios, criteria and actors (Saaty,
1980). Proposed by Saaty (1970) it constructs a ratio
scale associated with the priorities for the various items compared. Saaty in
his initial formulation, Conventional AHP, proposed a four-step methodology
comprising modeling, valuation, prioritization and synthesis. At the modeling
stage, a hierarchy representing relevant aspects of the problem (criteria, sub-criteria,
attributes and alternatives) is constructed. The goal or mission concerned in
the problem is placed at the top of this hierarchy. Other relevant aspects (criteria,
sub-criteria, attributes, etc.) are placed in the remaining levels (Altuzarra
et al., 2007). In the AHP method, obtaining the weights or priority
vector of the alternatives or the criteria is required which Saaty has used
and developed the Pairwise Comparison Method (PCM) for this purpose (Kordi,
|| General flow of study procedure
The AHP method was found to be a powerful tool to determine the weights, compared with other methods used for determining weights.
There are two important indexes in AHP method; the weight and scores of each
criteria. In this study, the weight factor was calculated based on the AHP method
using the Expert Choice software and the scores of each factor were calculated
from the rating process. When applying AHP, constraints are compared with each
other to determine the relative importance of each variable in accomplishing
the overall goal. The AHP has three basic steps which have been shown in Fig.
4. Table 1 shows a constraint matrix and the sum of each
column within the matrix is normalized and weights are calculated. When developing
a hierarchy, the top level is the ultimate goal of the decision. The hierarchy
decreases from the general to more specific until a level of attributes are
reached. Each level must be linked to the next higher level. Typically a hierarchical
structure includes four levels; goal, objectives, attributes and alternatives.
Each layer consists of the attribute values assigned to the alternatives, which
are related to the higher-level elements (Sener et al.,
2004). Numerical values are assigned to each pair of constraints by using
guidelines established in Table 2.
Weighted linear combination: Two of the most general procedures for
multi-criteria analysis are weighted linear combination and concordance-discordance
analysis. In this study weighted linear combination has been used.
|| Specification of Terengganu location in Malaysia
|| Land-use suitability analysis hierarchy
|| Constraints matrix
In every part of analysis-decision support-weight, weights were developed
by providing a series of Pairwise Comparisons of the relative importance of
factors to the suitability of pixels for the activity being evaluated. Actually,
it is the derivation of weights in the context of the decision objective which
can provide the major challenge.
Calculation of score value for each criterion: The suitability value
for sitting building and housing complexes in coastal area and the standard
for each land mapping unit is determined through the maximum limitation method
that affects the land use. The five representative natural physical characteristics
are used in the calculation, including river, slope, land cover, built-up and
road. Before applying weighted linear combination equation to calculated suitability
index, these calculated scores are standardized to the measured scale 1 (low),
5 (medium), 7 (high) and 9 (very high suitability). All of the classifications
and ranking values in spatial analysis are obtained according to some studies
of Al-Shalabi et al. (2006) and Kordi
(2008) and based on visiting the study area.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Suitability maps resulting from MCA and multi-objective land allocation have shown different classes for which the degree of sensitivity to accept new building for example hotel estates and urban settlements vary from extremely prone areas to weakly prone. Based on relative weights of the suitability factors for development, suitability ranges were identified as shown in Table 3. Areas with high suitability are concentrated in the surroundings of main urban settlements zones. Figure 5 and 6 show the final map (land use suitability image), which divided to 5 best areas. According to this map, we have 3 colors (classes); black, green and blue which the best area for building the hotel in the selected coastal area is the blue color (class 3). After selecting the suitable areas, two factors are very important to select the best area between these sites. First, this area is the biggest area to provide more facility for tourism and second, this is the nearest area to beach because tourists prefer to stay near the beach. Therefore, we can conclude that the best area among these five areas, based on the existing information, is area 1 (2111 m) as the most appropriate one because of having good facility and being a wide open area.
Application of AHP in the process of land suitability assessment is an effective
way for the residential land suitability assessment and it has been successfully
applied in this research. As a result, it can be concluded that the land use
suitability assessment for sitting building in coastal area is a technical basis
for sensible land use planning at the regional level and AHP is a flexible and
powerful decision making tool for multi criteria problems.
|| Weights of criteria in land-use suitability analysis
|| Suitability classification
|| Final land-use suitability map, 1, 2, 3: Classes of area
|| Land-use suitability image
Results of the present study are consistent with the findings of Paruccini
(1994), Malczewski (1999), Badri
(1999), Weerakoon (2002), Duc
(2006) and Kordi (2008). For the entire land suitability
assessment process in Marang coastal area, the environmental protection areas
are identified as the first step in the process which has been ignored in a
lot of past studies. Excluding the important protected areas will benefit the
planners in identifying the lands which have top protection priority and should
not be taken up for other purposes. Even if they are suitable for land uses,
they cannot be used as building areas because of their environmental protection
priority. The land suitability assessment process will assess remaining area
for suitability to build buildings, hotels and resorts in coastal areas. The
efforts will help the government to find out the suitable areas for the future
urban development by adequately use of the limited land resources.
This study provides experiences on the topic of residential land suitability assessment which is seldom used in the urban land use planning in Malaysia, by introducing the experience in the coastal area of Marang. However, the other areas should consider the criteria for the factors based on the different local environment during land suitability assessment process.
The analysis of this study mainly focused on highly suitable areas on coastal area as these areas have highest potential for building hotel and resort. We applied AHP technique for land use suitability analysis based on five criteria layers and it was found to be a useful method to determine the weights. The sensitivity utility of the model helps to analyze the decision before making the final choice. The AHP method can deal with inconsistent judgments and provides a measure of the inconsistency. Nevertheless, the important drawback of the model is its application process, as it needs to consider the right persons with sufficient knowledge for participating in the decision-making group.
The resultant land suitability map represents land use suitability potential to build in selected coastal area, which can help the managers make better land use planning decision. Therefore, this study could be useful for land use decision-making and urban development. This is very important for planner who wants to decide whether land should be developed or conserved. It can also help to consider the strategic urban land development framework and the short-term land use policies can be formulated as well.
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