, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 545-558

Fuzzy Assessment of Land Suitability for Scientific Research Reserves

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Abstract

Evaluating the characteristics of a set of sites as potential scientific research reserves is an example of land suitability assessment. Suitability in this case is based upon multiple criteria, many of which can be linguistically imprecise and often incompatible. Fuzzy logic is a useful method for characterizing imprecise suitability criteria and for combining criteria into an overall suitability rating. The Ecosystem Management Decision Support software combined a fuzzy logic knowledge base we developed to represent the assessment problem with a GIS database providing site-specific data for the assessment. Assessment of sites as a potential natural reserve for the new University of California campus at Merced demonstrates the benefits of fuzzy suitability assessment. The study was conducted in three stages of successively smaller assessment regions with increasingly fine spatial resolution and specificity of criteria. Several sites were identified that best satisfy the suitability criteria for a reserve to represent vernal pool habitat.