Research Article
Volume 1 Issue 1 - 2014
Land Zoning: Concept and its Urgency in Bangladesh
Mohammad A Hossain1* and Mohammad K H Dewan2
1Principal Scientific Officer, Soil Resource Development Institute, Bangladesh
2Former Chief Scientific Officer, Soil Resource Development Institute, Bangladesh
*Corresponding Author: Mohammad A Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer, Soil Resource Development Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Farmgate, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh.
Received: November 24, 2014; Published: December 31, 2014
Citation: Mohammad A Hossain and Mohammad KH Dewan. “Land Zoning: Concept and its Urgency in Bangladesh”. EC Agriculture 1.1 (2014): 51-66.
Abstract
Bangladesh is a least developed South Asian country and its economy is based on agriculture. Among the natural resources, land and soil are the key resource for agriculture. We have to ensure its proper utilization for ensuring food security without decreasing its extent and quality.
In Bangladesh the natural resources especially the land resources of an area is used for multiple purposes, which have strong influences on the socio-economic development of the area. Due to huge population pressure land resources are under continuous human and natural interventions so its land use is naturally diverse and complex. The land resources of an area is intensively used for agriculture, settlements, forests, water bodies and fisheries, salt production, industries and infrastructural development, tourism, preservation and management of environmentally important and special areas.
Land and soil resources are vital and limiting resource for agriculture. The encroachment on agricultural land is a pressing problem in the rapidly growing areas of our country. Cultivable land has reduced from 9.72 million hectare (1991) to 8.52 hectares (2011). This is alarming for an over populated country like Bangladesh. Food security of the country would be threatened if land and soil resources are degraded and cultivated area is reduced at present rate. To arrest negative balance land zoning is a must for sustainable agricultural development of the country.
Secondary data were obtained from publications of Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) and Department of Land Records (DLR). They provided spatial information pertinent to land zoning in Kaliganj Upazila. All maps were constructed in ARC/Info and exported into shape file formats compatible with ArcView 3.2. All themes were projected in the LCC having a scale of 1 : 50,000. Current land use data were collected by field survey which provided an opportunity to develop a working relationship with land use, topography and landscape characteristics.
The ultimate output of this study was a map showing the distributions of the various land zones. The Kaliganj Upazila comprises of about 21,316 ha land surface. Agriculture zone, Forest zone and Aquaculture zone accounts for 5,247 ha, 8,760 ha and 5,871 ha respectively. About 858 ha area accounts for Commercial and Residential Zone and about 583 ha for Water bodies including rivers. The proposed urban zone accounts for 715 ha.
Keywords: Bangladesh; Soil and land resource; Land zoning
Introduction
Bangladesh is a least developed South Asian country and its economy is based on agriculture. Among the natural resources, land and soil are the key resource for agriculture. We have to ensure its proper utilization for ensuring food security without decreasing its extent and quality.
It was estimated that annual loss of cropland during 1976-2000 was 13,413 ha which increased to 68,760 ha during 2000-2010 [1]. As an agro-based country, there is no scope of degrading land resources through improper use. Bangladesh is considered as one of the most densely populated country in the context of land-man ratio. Now per capita arable land is about 0.06 ha which is the lowest in the world [2]. Moreover, large areas of cultivable lands as well as forest land are being used for urbanization, industrialization, settlement, shrimp culture, roads and highways resulting in reducing the total agricultural land of Bangladesh.
On the contrary, only 3% area of the land remains as fallow, indicating that land in this country is not allowed sufficiently to rest for long period for regaining the natural bio-physical properties required for the maintenance’s of soil health. Improper and unplanned utilization of soil and water resources demands proper land zone classes in Bangladesh by maintaining the soil health and rational use of land, soil and water.
In Bangladesh the natural resources especially the land resources of an area is used for multiple purposes, which have strong influences on the socio-economic development of the area. Due to huge population pressure land resources are under continuous human and natural interventions so its land use is naturally diverse and complex. The land resources of an area is intensively used for agriculture, settlements, forests, water bodies and fisheries, salt production, industries and infrastructural development, tourism, preservation and management of environmentally important and special areas.
These huge interventions in land have resulted in the following features:
  1. Conflicting land demand
  2. Demand for expansion in all land uses (urban area, settlement, fisheries, etc.)
  3. Increasing demand for new uses (tourism, EEZ and others
  4. Encroachment of land by the local people and
  5. Absence of zoning
The above mentioned circumstances call for the demarcation of more or less homogenous sub-zones or land classes which will do justice to the existing diversified use of resources. The need for land zoning as a planning tool has been recognized in many policy documents of the government and its importance is also recognized by the line agencies.
The Land Use Policy [3] emphasized:
  1. Land use based zoning
  2. Ensure best use of land through zoning
  3. A zoning law nationally to allow local government to prepare zoning maps
The National Water Policy [4]
  1. Frame rules, procedures, and guidelines for combining water-use and land-use planning
  2. Designate flood risks zones and take appropriate measures
  3. Zoning regulations will be established for location of new industries in consideration of fresh and safe water availability and effluent discharge possibilities
  4. Brackish aquaculture will be confined to specific zones designated by the Government
The National Agricultural Policy [5]
Land zoning program will be taken up by the Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI) on priority basis.
What is zoning?
Zoning is the process of planning for land use by a locality to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. Zoning also includes restrictions in different zoning areas, such as height of buildings, use of green space, density (number of structures in a certain area), use of lots, and types of businesses. Zoning involves determining the best suitable uses for all different parcels of land in a given area. Zoning ensures that lands are properly demarcated for a specific purpose so that a particular zone intended for a specific purpose is not used for a different one.
Who controls zoning?
Zoning is a purely a state, county, city, or municipal affair. The land zoning should permit the following parameters:
  1. To sustain land quality
  2. Appropriate cropping pattern
  3. Environmentally balanced
  4. Scientifically sustainable
  5. Economically viable and
  6. Socially acceptable, etc.
The major types of zoning are
Agricultural: Agricultural zoning includes lands earmarked for production of crops, livestock and fisheries.
Residential: Residential zoning is for individual family units or groups. It includes single-family homes, duplexes, condominiums, trailer parks, and apartments. If the building you want to use for your business is zoned "residential" you will need to get a variance to use the property for business purposes.
Commercial: Commercial property includes almost everything that is not residential, from offices to retail stores, to shopping malls and strip malls, to bars and nightclubs. Most professional offices are zoned commercial.
Industrial: Industrial zoning is for manufacturing and warehousing operations.
Objectives of land zoning
The main objectives of land zoning are:
  1. To ensure planning of proper utilization of land and soil potentials of particular area in order to maximum economic return.
  2. To maintain bio-diversity in the area.
  3. To grow awareness amongst planners, users, policy, makers and decision makers for rational utilization of land resources.
Land and land resources
As stated in the introduction of Chapter 10, the definition of land used to be: "a physical entity in terms of its topography and spatial nature"; this is often associated with an economic value, expressed in price per hectare at ownership transfer. The broader, integrative or holistic view takes into account the physio-biotic and socio-economic resources of the physical entity as well, and this is obviously the guiding principle of Chapter 10 as a whole. A complete definition may therefore be the following one (already used in the documentation for the Convention to Combat Desertification) [6].
"Land is a delineable area of the earth's terrestrial surface, encompassing all attributes of the biosphere immediately above or below this surface including those of the near-surface climate the soil and terrain forms, the surface hydrology (including shallow lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps), the near-surface sedimentary layers and associated groundwater reserve, the plant and animal populations, the human settlement pattern and physical results of past and present human activity (terracing, water storage or drainage structures, roads, buildings, etc.)."
This definition conforms to land system units. Landscape-ecological units or unites de terroir, as building blocks of a watershed (catchment area) or a phytogeographic unit (biome). The repeated reference to 'land and land resources' of Chapter 10 may be taken to mean: land as well as its individual land components.
The definition of a natural land unit as defined above is distinctive from an administrative unit of land (territoire) which can be of any size (individual holding, municipality, province, state, etc.) and which normally encompasses a number of natural units or parts of them.
The components of the natural land unit can be termed land resources, including physical, bionic, environmental, infrastructural, social and economic components, inasmuch as they are fixed to the land unit.
Included in the land resources are surface and near-surface freshwater resources. Part of these moves through successive land units, but then the local flow characteristics can be considered as part of the land unit. The linkages between water and land are so intimate at the management level that the water element cannot be excluded (land as a unit intermixed with water, with its land use in part depending on access to that water, and the unit at the same time affecting the quality and quantity of the passing water). Only the freshwater harnessed in major reservoirs outside the natural land unit, or pumped from rivers at upstream sites, can be considered as a separate resource.
Underground geological resources (oil, gas, ores, precious metals), and deeper geohydrological resources that normally bear no relation to the surface topography such as confined aquifers, are excluded from the group of components of the natural land unit, although it is recognized that some countries consider them as part of individual land ownership (and hence with rights to exploit or sell them).
In this holistic approach, a natural unit of land has both a vertical aspect-from atmospheric climate down to groundwater resources, and a horizontal aspect- an identifiable repetitive sequence of soil, terrain, hydrological, and vegetative or land use elements.
Environmental resources and natural resources
Natural resources, in the context of "land" as defined above, are taken to be those components of land units that are of direct economic use for human population groups living in the area, or expected to move into the area: near-surface climatic conditions; soil and terrain conditions; freshwater conditions; and vegetational and animal conditions in so far as they provide produce. To a large degree, these resources can be quantified in economic terms. This can be done irrespective of their location (intrinsic value) or in relation to their proximity to human settlements (situational value).
Environmental resources are taken to be those components of the land that have an intrinsic value of their own, or are of value for the longer-term sustainability of the use of the land by human populations, either in loco or regional and global. They include biodiversity of plant and animal populations; scenic, educational or research value of landscapes; protective value of vegetation in relation to soil and water resources either in loco or downstream; the functions of the vegetation as a regulator of the local and regional climate and of the composition of the atmosphere; water and soil conditions as regulators of nutrient cycles (C, N. P. K, S), as influencing human health and as a long-term buffer against extreme weather events; occurrence of vectors of human or animal diseases (mosquitoes, tsetse flies, black flies, etc.). Environmental resources are to a large degree "non-tangible" in strictly economic terms.
In the framework of an integrated, holistic approach to land use planning, the distinction is somewhat artificial, as environmental resources are part of the set of natural resources. However, it still serves to group the tangible from the non-tangible components, and the directly beneficial at local level from the indirectly beneficial components of human life support systems. In the context of Chapter 10, both groups should receive equal attention.
Accepting the broad definition of land as including "human settlement patterns", a third important set of resources has to be taken into account. The set of social or human resources should be defined in terms of density of population groups, their occupational activities, their land rights, their sources of income, the standard of living of households, gender aspects, etc.
Land use planning and physical planning
For the purposes of this discussion physical planning is the designing of the optimal physical infrastructure of an administrative land unit, such as transport facilities-roads, railways, airports, harbours; industrial plants and storage of produce; mining and power generation, and facilities for towns and other human settlements-in anticipation of population increase and socio-economic development, and taking into account the outcome of land use zoning and planning. It has both rural and urban development aspects, though the latter usually predominates.
Physical planning is normally carried out by the state, or by local government organizations for the general good of the community. The purpose is to take a more nearly holistic or overall view of the development of an area than can or would be taken by individuals. Physical planning has two main functions: to develop a rational infrastructure, and to restrain the excesses of individuals in the interests of the community as a whole. This latter function usually leads to physical planning being associated with a system of laws and regulations.
Land use planning should be a decision-making process that "facilitates the allocation of land to the uses that provide the greatest sustainable benefits" (Agenda 21, paragraph 10.5). It is based on the socio-economic conditions and expected developments of the population in and around a natural land unit. These are matched through a multiple goal analysis and assessment of the intrinsic value of the various environmental and natural resources of the land unit. The result is an indication of a preferred future land use, or combination of uses. Through a negotiation process with all stakeholders, the outcome is decisions on the concrete allocation of land for specific uses (or non-uses) through legal and administrative measures, which will lead eventually to implementation of the plan.
As considered in Chapter 10, land use planning is mainly related to rural areas, concentrating on the use of the land in the broadest agricultural context (crop production, animal husbandry, forest management/silviculture, inland fisheries, safeguarding of protective vegetation and biodiversity values). However, pert-urban areas are also included where they directly impinge on rural areas, through expansion of building construction onto valuable agricultural land and the consequent modification of land uses in the adjoining rural areas.
Planning and management
As stated before, land resources planning is the process of evaluation of options and subsequent decision-making which precedes implementation of a decision or plan.
Land resources management, in its narrow sense is the actual practice of using the land by the local human population, which should be sustainable [7]. The detailed operational aspects of such sustainable management are dealt with in Chapter 10 of Agenda 21. other chapters of [8] Agenda 21: Chapters 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, etc.
In a broader sense as obviously meant in Chapter 10 land resources management is the implementation of land use planning, as agreed between and with the direct participation of stakeholders. It is achieved through political decisions; legal, administrative and institutional execution; demarcation on the ground; inspection and control of adherence to the decisions; solving of land tenure issues; settling of water rights; issuing of concessions for plant and animal extraction (timber, fuel wood, charcoal and peat, non-wood products, hunting); promotion of the role of women and other disadvantaged groups in agriculture and rural development in the area, and the safeguarding of traditional rights of early indigenous peoples.
Zoning, resource management domains, allocation
The term "zoning" is not mentioned in Chapter 10, yet it is one of the products of land resources planning used in the Task Manager's Report as well as in a number of national approaches. It therefore warrants a definition. Zoning is the process of planning for land use by a locality to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. For many years zoning has been used for ensuring land use control in urban and peri-urban areas. More recently it has also become associated with delineation of rural ecological units, as in FAO's Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) Project.
In the urban planning sphere the word is commonly used in a prescriptive sense; for example, the allocation of pert-urban land for specific uses such as housing, light industry, recreation, horticulture or animal big-industry, in each case with the appropriate legal restrictions to land markets.
In the original agro-ecologic zoning concept the word denotes an earlier stage of rural planning. It is a subdivision of the rural lands on the basis of physical and biological characteristics (climate, soils, terrain forms, land cover, and to a degree the water resources), and is used as a tool for agricultural land use planning. At regional inter-country level, it was one of the tools to assess the potential human population supporting (or "carrying") capacity of a country. This is inasmuch as it depends on the producing capacity of the land at different levels of input and technology, discounting industrial, trade or mining activities. In this sense also the zoning was adopted by the CGIAR system of international agricultural research for its new eco-regional approach.
The AEZ methodology has been refined by FAO for within-country level zoning applications (Mozambique, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, and currently China and the Amazon region), where socio-economic conditions have also been taken into account. These conditions figure even more prominently in the programs for (agro-) Ecological and (socio-) Economic Zoning EEZ- of whole and mainly natural ecosystems, such as the Amazon forest region or "biome" [9]. In these latter two cases, the zoning sensustrictuis a delineation of areas of rural lands, which could be earmarked for one or another use or non-use, based on identical physio-biotic conditions and prevailing socio-economic infrastructure. The resulting units can be defined as Resource Management Domains, RMDs, defined as areas within a broad physio-biotic zone that have at present the same socio-economic conditions.
The above zoning does not include legal or administrative decisions on future land use, which is the subject of land use allocation. It consists of a series of processes that take place after the zoning sensu strictu. Important procedures will involve political decisions connected with choosing between alternative options presented in a plan after negotiation with all stakeholders; identification of land rights and solving any resulting conflicts; legal, administrative and institutional execution; demarcation on the ground; and effective control of adherence to the decisions taken.
Links between rural, peri-urban and urban land use planning
Having established that Chapter 10 focuses on rural land use planning, it should be realized that there are important links with human settlements in general and the needs of urban centers in particular. For example, these are apparent in the seven program areas of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21, for which UNCHS (Habitat) is the Task Manager for UN System involvement. Synergies need to be developed between urban and rural land use planning and apparent antagonisms need to be resolved through platforms for decision making. These will be wherever stakeholders in urban and rural development can meet and resolve their differences for the benefit of the common welfare. A listing of synergies and antagonisms between urban and rural land resources use is given below (Table 1).
Urban Needs Rural Needs  
Prevention of mass-influx of rural poor Availability of labour for agricultural activities (cropping, forestry, fisheries) Potentially synergistic: socio-economic support mechanisms for stable and equitable income of rural population
Affordable food, especially for the poorer segments of the urban population Substantial and stable market for agricultural produce, at above-cost prices Antagonistic: food aid from outside the country Synergistic: promotion of credit and markets for locally produced food
Good access/communications with the hinterland (transport of raw materials; tourism) Good access/communication with the urban centers (transport of agricultural inputs and outputs) Synergistic
Energy from water reservoirs Rural water resources for irrigation, agricultural produce processing Antagonistic: flooding of agricultural or forest land by reservoirs Synergistic: water storage for both energy and irrigation
Steady and good quality water supply for human and industrial use As above, and disposal of agricultural drainage water (salinity; some excess fertilizer input, pesticides, etc.) Antagonistic: limitation of water quantity for upstream rural use; degradation of water quality for downstream urban use Synergistic: afforestation; more efficient agricultural inputs use
Household fuel (charcoal) and wood-based shelter materials (timber) Vegetative protection of upper catchments and river banks to prevent degradation of agricultural land Antagonistic, unless effective land market control Synergistic: afforestation and protection of vulnerable ecosystems
Disposal of solid and liquid waste and storm water Protection of valuable natural ecosystems; replenishment of plant nutrients stock Antagonistic: degradation of downstream agro-ecosystems Synergistic: reuse of treated waste on pert-urban agricultural lands
Expansion of settlement and industrial area and (peri) urban infrastructure (harbours, airports) and associated free land markets Protection of prime agricultural- land and safe agricultural land tenure in pert-urban areas Antagonistic, unless effective land market control
Table 1: Synergies and antagonisms between urban and rural land resources use.
Land zones and ‘Land and soil resource utilization guides’
Lately, Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI), have been developed ‘Nirdeshika’ or ‘land and soil resource utilization Guide’ at Upazila level and ‘soil and land form map’ (1 : 50,000) is a part of this Guide this consists of several zones, focusing better crop management, present land use, soil fertility and production practices. This Nirdeshika (Guides) contain basic information on land, soil and water resources. It also contains information on crops, cropping patterns, pattern based fertilizer and proper packages of management practices. This information will serve the purpose of data-base for micro-level planning. The soil group/groups have been recognized as mapping units in the map. Soil developed from same kind of parent materials having more or less identical morphological, chemical and land use potentials and responding equally to different management packages are grouped into a soil group. One group may contain one or more soil families. Every mapping unit represents the bio-physical parameters on the map that has been proposed to be treated as development unit or resource management domain. Bangladesh has to cope with the increasing population so land zoning should focus the maximum potential land utilization in terms of economical return and environmental concern.
In this study, work has been done, to explore our land zones, based on its potential in producing different products and benefits.
Materials and Methods
Study area
Kaliganj Upazila (sub-district) was selected for this study (Figure 1). Important information of this area is listed in Table 2. It is situated in the south-eastern part of Gazipur district. It is located between 23050’ and 24003’N latitude and 90028’ and 90040’E longitude. The Upazila covers an area of 21,316 ha with more than 233,230 inhabitants. The area is rural with majority of the population depending on various agro-based activities. It is near the capital, Dhaka. The transportation system is quite good.
Land qualities Agriculture Forest Aquaculture Urban
Land type High land – Low land High land Low and very low land High land
Drainage Well drained – Poorly drained Well drained - Moderately well drained Poorly drained - Very poorly drained Well drained
Surface water recession Early-Late Very early Very late Very early
Relief Level Level-undulating NA Level
Table 2: Land qualities related to specific land use.

Materials
The GIS land zonal layer is based mainly on SRDI’s database for Kaliganj Upazila, [10], of Gazipur district. This database consists of a number of bio-physical are chemical properties (Table 2). It will serve the purpose of database for micro level planning and can be used as an important day to day working tool by the extension workers as derived from as systematic approach of semi-detailed soil survey (1 : 50,000) as conducted by SRDI in 1995. Data were compiled on the basis of ‘dominant land type and soil group in individual soil unit of the ‘Soil and Landform’ map. It contains detailed information on crops and cropping patterns, method of predicting crop specific and cropping pattern based fertilizer doses and proper packages of management practices. The DLR map (1 : 4 mile) of Kaliganj Upazila published by Department of Land Records was also used in this study for defining the boundary up to mouza (lower tire of land record) level.
Methodology
Secondary data were obtained from publications of Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) and Department of Land Records (DLR). They provided spatial information pertinent land zoning in Kaliganj. All maps were constructed in ARC/Info and exported into shape file formats compatible with ArcView 3.2. All themes were projected in the LCC having a scale of 1 : 50,000. Current land use data were collected by field survey which provided an opportunity to develop a working relationship with land use, topography and landscape characteristics.
The study was conducted to show generalized land Zone classes that occur at Kaliganj Upazila. The purpose of spatial visualization is to incorporate all current coverage for informed decisions based on spatial perceptions. It is important to note, that data in the scale are being used to provide general information for development planning.
Data generation: First step was to identity the area under flood risk hazard. Using soil and landform map data (Table 2) it was possible to create coverage with flood risk as an attribute field. To obtain the area, the theme was queried, selecting out all areas without flood risk. About 5871 ha area was delineated as flood free. From the Land type coverage, again the query was made for low and very low lands. To generate the information, the intersect command was used within X Tools in ArcView. Flood prone area covered about 5871 ha. This area was employed to create a new zone as Aquatic Zone.
For delineating the Agriculture Zone, 6 major crops i.e., T. Aman, Boro, Potato, Mustard, Wheat, Sugarcane crop’s suitability were rated against the land and soil qualities. Areas rated as suitable and moderately suitable land were treated as agriculture land zone. Using Model Builder, extension of ArcView is used on the basis of Table 3. The analysis was left with just over 5247 ha of land that was not affected by flood hazard.
Mapping Unit Total Area (ha) Dominant Soil Group Land Type Flood Prone Relief Drainage Recession of surface water
1 6107 Tejgaon Highland No Slightly undulated Well drained NA*
2 649 Payati Medium highland Yes Slightly undulated Poorly drained Early
3 2035 Gerua Highland No Undulated Moderately well drained NA*
4 348 Khilgaon Medium highland Yes Level Poorly drained Normal
5 2258 Karail Medium lowland Yes Level Very poorly drained Very late
6 615 Gerua Highland No Undulated Moderately well drained NA*
7 2258 Karail Very lowland Yes Level Very poorly drained Very late
8 378 Silmandi Medium highland Yes Level Poorly drained Early
9 3171 Sonatala Medium highland Yes Level Poorly drained Early
10 515 Naraibag Medium highland Yes Level Poorly drained Early
11 186 Siddirganj Medium lowland Yes Level Poorly drained Normal
12 1045 Naraibag Lowland Yes Level Poorly drained Late
13 407 Siddirganj Lowland Yes Level Poorly drained Late
Table 3: General information of the soil map.
*NA: Not Applicable (above normal flood level)
The rest of the land extracted from Agriculture and Aquaculture Land Zone has been identified by Forest zone, about 8760 ha area showing suitable for trees, bushes and upland crops having characterized by highland and well drained soils. The existing urban area comprises about 806.5 ha to obtain the proposed urban/small industry zone; the highland area was extracted from the land type database. Then buffering was accomplished within 1 km distance along the metal road. Spatial Analyst X -Tool command was used for this new theme. This new theme occurs that about 715 ha. From the query and analysis at Kaligonj Upazila the following land zones have been developed, i.e., agriculture zone, forest zone, aquaculture zone and urban zone (Figure 1).
Buffering was accomplished to obtain the urban/industry zone. The buffer zone was delineated around road taking into account 1 km area of both sides (Figure 2). By compiling the Upazila land zone map a district land zone map was obtained (Figure 3). In all Upazila/district 6 land zone categories may not occur. It will vary from place to place. For example at Chakaria Upazila in Cox’s Bazar district Agriculture zone, Forest zone and urban zone have been identified together with shrimp culture, salt bed and clay belt sub zones (Figure 4).
Crop suitability rating for agriculture zone
Land zoning were done on the basis of land evaluation. ‘The principal objectives of land evaluation is to set optimum land use in a defined land unit, taking into consideration for both physical and socio-economic conditions and conservation of environmental resources for future uses’ [11].
For Agricultural zone, specific crops were rated against soil qualities (Figure 1) (Table 4a & 4b). Suitable and moderate suitable land for specific crops were rated as agricultural land and if one mapping unit was found not suitable for agricultural zone, it was considered for other type of land zoning. For each mapping unit 6 major crops i.e., (1) Mustard (2) Wheat (3) Potato (4) Boro (5) Transplanted Aman and (6) Sugarcane with irrigation were rated for suitability of Agriculture zone (Table 3). Available soil moisture is not considered for identification of suitability in Kharif and irrigated crops. Finally the land zone classes were verified by ground truthing.
Land and Soil Characteristics T. Aman (Irrigated) Boro (Irrigated) Wheat (Irrigated)
Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable
1 Land type Highland            
Medium highland            
Medium lowland           
Lowland           
Very lowland          
2 Relief Level            
Undulating            
Sloping            
3 Recession of surface water Very early            
Early            
Normal            
Late           
Very late          
4 Drainage Well            
Moderately well            
Somewhat poor            
Poor            
Very poor            
5 Soil texture Sandy            
Sandy loam            
Loam            
Clay loam            
Clay            
6 Topsoil consistence Loose            
Friable            
Firm            
7 Available soil moisture Low                  
Medium                  
High                  
Very high                  
8 Topsoil reaction Very strongly acid            
Strongly acid            
Slightly acid            
Neutral            
Slightly alkaline            
Strongly alkaline            
Very strongly alkaline            
9 Topsoil salinity Non-saline            
Very slightly saline            
Slightly saline            
Moderately saline            
Strongly saline            
Very strongly saline            
Table 4a: Suitability ratings for irrigated T. Aman, Boro and Wheat based on land and soil characteristics.

Land and Soil Characteristics Mustard (Irrigated) Potato (Irrigated) Sugarcane (Irrigated)
Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable Suitable Moderately Suitable Non-Suitable
1 Land type Highland            
Medium highland            
Medium lowland            
Lowland            
Very lowland            
2 Relief Level            
Undulating            
Sloping            
3 Recession of surface water Very early            
Early            
Normal            
Late                
Very late            
4 Drainage Well            
Moderately well            
Somewhat poor            
Poor          
Very poor            
5 Soil texture Sandy          
Sandy loam            
Loam            
Clay loam            
Clay              
6 Topsoil consistence Loose            
Friable            
Firm            
7 Available soil moisture Low                  
Medium                  
High                  
Very high                  
8 Topsoil reaction Very strongly acid            
Strongly acid            
Slightly acid            
Neutral            
Slightly alkaline            
Strongly alkaline            
Very strongly alkaline            
9 Topsoil salinity Non-saline            
Very slightly saline            
Slightly saline            
Moderately saline            
Strongly saline            
Very strongly saline            
Table 4b: Suitability ratings for irrigated Mustard, Potato and Sugarcane based on land and soil characteristics.

Results and Discussion
The ultimate output of this study was a map (Figure 5) showing the distributions of the various land zones. The Kaliganj Upazila comprises of about 21,316 ha land surface. Agriculture zone, Forest zone and Aquaculture zone accounts for 5,247 ha, 8,760 ha and 5,871 ha respectively. About 858 ha area accounts for Commercial and Residential Zone and about 583 ha for Water bodies including rivers. The proposed urban zone accounts for 715 ha.
The agriculture zone was further subjected to suitability test for major field crops. The agriculture zone has been defined as good agriculture land having highest cropping intensity. It is above flood level and contain almost all nutrient required for crop growth and yield. The Aquaculture land zone has been defined as a flood prone zone. Under irrigated condition only Boro rice (winter rice) is being cultivated. Lowland rice culture is more input intensive. Aquaculture or fish cultivation may account good economic return. Needless to say that economic return and environmental issue have to be considered in any practice.
The Forest land zone comprises of upland crops, orchards and also the reserve forests. The nutrient status differs from that of agriculture land zone. This zone can be considered as good zone for perennial trees, such as fruit trees and agro-forestry and also for kharif and Rabi vegetables. Agro-based industries, easy accessible roads and highways linking markets are needed for easy transport and sell of agricultural produce. At present small enterprises-cold storage, poultry farms, dairy farms are situated in remote areas. The highlands, besides the highways together with maximum amenity facilities, should be utilized for future urbanization and industrialization, without disturbing the agriculture land zone. The aquaculture zone should also be kept undisturbed because they act as drainage channels for higher part of the landscape. In this study, a buffer zone is proposed which might serve as best alternate location for business activities and also for residential area.
A land suitability analysis has been accomplished for 6 major field crops wheat, boro rice, potato, mustard, transplanted aman and sugarcane. These field crops have been analyzed presuming that, these crops together supply the major nutrients of daily human diet. The land zone that has been found suitable for the said crops has been categorized as agriculture land zone.
The forest land zone has been identified mainly by its land type and drainage parameter i.e. highland and well drained respectively. Land suitability analyses have shown that fruits, vegetables, spices, forest tree are suitable for this zone. In this land zone afforestation and agro-forestry practices would be the best choice which will improve the ecological balance of the ecosystem. At present Bangladesh contains only about 10% forest area, which indicates a negative balance in natural ecosystem.
The aquaculture land zone has been identified as low/very low land having risk of seasonal flood hazard. This land zone may be exploited to grow more fish for the population to supply protein as well to alleviate poverty, as fish plays a vital role in the daily life, economy and in aquatic environment in Bangladesh. These low/very low floodplains could be the major source of inland close water fish culture. In this study the prospective area of rice fish culture has also been earmarked. Usually seasonally flooded rice fields are suitable for rice-fish culture. At present modern Boro rice is cultivated during Rabi growing season with irrigation. The land remains fallow for rest of the year. It is anticipated that closed fish culture or rice-fish culture in low and/or very lowland might be more income generating than rice mono culture by constructing sluice gates for preserving and drainage of water in these areas.
All these agricultural produce grains, vegetables, fruits and fishes demands good marketing facility for handsome economic return. Buffer zone extending 1 km of both side of roads have been delineated over high lands presuming most suitable area facilitating easy accessibility.
Implication and Future Direction
Many land use changes are not only creating environmental problems but also producing ecological imbalance, which has much more implication on sustainable development. Planners and concerned officers lack experience in dealing with such a fast pace of economic and land development. Nor do they have information to assess the impact of such rapid land development on the environment.
Land uses change information and assessment is urgently needed for sustainable development. The integration of remote sensing and GIS will provide an efficient and scientific way to monitor land use changes and assess their impacts on the environment, which cannot be provided by fieldwork and government reporting methods. Many local governments, those at the town level do not have the staff or the will to monitor land development that is rapidly taking place all over the country. The severity of the encroachment of urban development on valuable agricultural is often underreported. By using remote sensing and GIS to analyze the nature, growth rate and local governments can identify cities and towns that are using up much valuable agricultural land. They can then formulate plans and policies to deal with such uncontrolled growth.
Conclusion
Bangladesh is principally an agricultural country, characterized by rice paddy agriculture dominated landscapes. Land resources are the major asset contributing to wealth and livelihood in rural areas. It is evident that all the identified phenomena or threats to the human race are narrowly related to land. We all need land to live on, to build our shelters on and to extract our food from. Land cannot always be treated like any other commodity it is very significant and thus valuable. In addition to its pure economic value, it often has serious social and religious implications. Because of present problems of overutilization of land resources, pollution and scarcity of land (also in developed countries), the idea that we should hold the land as stewards for generations to come is frequently expressed. Within this framework of ideas, a balance between exploitation/utilization and conservation of land resources must be found in order to obtain the sustainable development indicated by the Brundtland report [12]. As an agro-based country, Bangladesh has little scope of degrading land resources through improper use. Rational use of soil and land resources is vital for sustainable agricultural productivity and food security. Land zoning is a scientific tool to classify soil and land resources according to their potential use. Hence, land zoning is urgent for a small country like Bangladesh.
Bibliography
  1. Hasan MN., et al. Agricultural land availability in Bangladesh. SRDI, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2013.
  2. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm
  3. National Land Use Policy 2001. Ministry of Land, 2001
  4. National Water Policy- 1996. Ministry of Water Resources. 1996.
  5. National Agriculture Policy- 1999. Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), 1999.
  6. United Nations convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, Convention to Combat Desertification, Kenya, 1994. UN, 1994.
  7. FAO. FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment. The Netherlands: FAO 15-19 April, 1991.
  8. UN. “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Rio de Janeiro, 3-4 June 1992.
  9. Sombroek WG. “Agro-Ecological Zoning: Guidelines”. Ecological- Economic Zoning. FAO Corporate Document Repository, 1994.
  10. Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI). Soil and Land Resource Utilization Guide. Kaliganj Upazila, Gazipur, Bangladesh, 2000.
  11. FAO. Guidelines: land evaluation for rainfed agriculture. Rome, Italy: FAO Soils Bull. 52. 11-54.
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Copyright: © 2014 Mohammad A Hossain., et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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