Document Type : Original Article


Pedol. Dept., Water Res. and Des. Land Div., Des. Res. Cent., Cairo, Egypt


Recently, more attention is paid by the Egyptian government for developing some areas at Sinai due to its attractive and strategic location. This study aimed at soil resource inventory of a pilot area extended over about 1000 faddans in Al-Tur city near the north-western border of Al-Qaà plain, south-western of Sinai, Egypt. Main limiting elements of agricultural development in the area were identified to insure resources availability and environmental safety. Soils were surveyed using semi detailed sampling design. Twenty three pedons representing soils of the area were morphologically studied and sampled for physical, chemical, and fertility analyses. Four soil mapping units were recognized and delineated based on the similarity of effective soil depth, gravel content, and soil texture. These units are: (i) deep gravelly coarse-textured soils (325 faddans), (ii) deep very gravelly coarse-textured soils (235 faddans), (iii) moderately deep gravelly coarse-textured soils (215 faddans), and (iv) shallow very gravelly coarse-textured soils (225 faddans). Laboratory analyses indicated that the soils were natural to moderately alkaline in reaction, non-saline to strongly saline in electrical conductivity, moderately to extremely in calcareous, and low in fertility status. Soil texture was mainly sand in all pedons except few layers were loamy sand with clay content not exceeding 8%. The gravel content reached to 62.50% and considered as limiting factor over some locations of study area. The studied lands were placed under three suitability classes according to FAO framework. The moderately suitable lands occupy an area of about 360 faddans (35%), while the marginal suitable ones cover an area of about 415 faddans (40%). The rest of the investigated lands are occupied by shallow soils belong to the currently non-suitable class. Land aptness evaluation procedures, given by QLDLAC system, have been used to assess the aptness of various land utilization types and generating prioritized cropping pattern for agricultural development. Different classes of land aptness (high, moderate, slight, and non-aptness) were separately given for each crop based on the limitations intensity of climate, environment, soil, and agricultural policies. The suggested land utilization types were prioritized and arranged as follow: food crops (365 faddans) > oil crops (215 faddans) > fruit trees (175 faddans) > vegetables (105 faddans) > forages (140 faddans). Technologies interventions for proper fertilization and irrigation programmes have to be applied to enhance soil management and crop productivity for sustainable agricultural use of prioritized crops.