Introduction to Suitability Index Tools
The goal of this study is to provide an interactive ArcGIS-based web application that allows users to choose a combination of socio-economics and landscape factor levels, and displays forest or agricultural suitability result maps (unsuitable, low, moderate, and high suitability zones). The interactive tool is currently under development. A "static" illustration of the upcoming arcGIS tool is presented below.
The following illustrates the impact of exclusion factors such as elevated population density, federal land, elevated land slope and unsuitable ecoregions, on potentially available areas for forest and agricultural uses for 33 Eastern states.

Exclusion Factors Simulation



Forest and Agricultural Suitability Index maps
After the prerequesite exclusion step performed above, a reduced number of areas remain available for the forest and agricultural suitability index analysis.
Four suitability categories were created for Forest land use or Agricultural use based on litterature. The categories are Unsuitable, Low Suitability, Moderate Suitability and High Suitability. You can look at the criteria details for each category by clicking on the collapsible panel below.
Suitability categories details
  • Forest
  • Agricultural
Unsuitable Forest Area ratio < 10%
Timberland growth-to-removal ratio < 0
Ecoregions suitable for Cropland
Farm net income < 0 and median family income > $49,445
Road density > 5km/sq. km

Low Suitability Forest area ratio > 10%
Timberland growth-to-removal ratio < 1
Slope < 30%
Population density < 150 people/sq. mile

Moderate Suitability Forest area ratio > 10%
Timberland growth-to-removal ratio > 1
Slope < 30%
Population density < 150 people/sq. mile

High Suitability Forest area ratio > 30%
Timberland growth-to-removal ratio > 1.5
slope < 30%
Population density < 100 people/sq. mile

Unsuitable Slope > 18%
or Cultivated Area Ratio < 10%
or Population Density > 150 people/sq. mile
or Farm Net Income < 0 and Median Family Income > $49,445

Low Suitability Slope < 18%
and Cultivated Area Ratio > 10%
and Population Density < 150 people/sq. mile
or Farm Net Income < 0 and Median Family Income < $49,445

Moderate Suitability Slope < 14%
and Cultivated Area Ratio > 30%
and Population density < 150 people/sq. mile
and Farm Net Income > 0

High Suitability Slope < 5%
and Cultivated Area Ratio > 70%
and Population density < 100 people/sq. mile
and Farm Net Income > 0

BioSAT Partners