Development of a land suitability framework for sustainable manure utilization

G. K. Saha, R. Cibin, H. A. Elliott, H. E. Preisendanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Intensive livestock agriculture is a significant source of nutrient pollution that contributes to water quality degradation worldwide. This study presents a land suitability framework and accompanying decision-support tools for sustainable manure management. The developed framework identifies potentially suitable areas for manure application in a user-defined area and further classifies the land as highly suitable, moderately suitable, marginally suitable, and unsuitable using seven environmental vulnerability factors considering landscape biophysical characteristics and proximity to streams. The decision-support tools, built in ArcGIS, were applied in a case study in western Pennsylvania. The ArcGIS toolbox, available from ScholarSphere (, classified 2% of the case study area as highly suitable for manure application and 21% as unsuitable. Landscape slope and proximity to streams were the dominant vulnerability factors in the case study area. The framework and accompanying tools are transferable across watershed boundaries and can help identify areas where environmentally sustainable animal agriculture can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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