Advancing Methods for Estimating Cropland Area

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
LeeAnn King1, Matthew Hansen1, Stephen V. Stehman2, Bernard Adusei1, Peter Potapov1 and Alexander Krylov1, (1)University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States, (2)SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, United States
Measurement and monitoring of complex and dynamic agricultural land systems is essential with increasing demands on food, feed, fuel and fiber production from growing human populations, rising consumption per capita, the expansion of crops oils in industrial products, and the encouraged emphasis on crop biofuels as an alternative energy source. Soybean is an important global commodity crop, and the area of land cultivated for soybean has risen dramatically over the past 60 years, occupying more than 5% of all global croplands (Monfreda et al 2008). Escalating demands for soy over the next twenty years are anticipated to be met by an increase of 1.5 times the current global production, resulting in expansion of soybean cultivated land area by nearly the same amount (Masuda and Goldsmith 2009). Soybean cropland area is estimated with the use of a sampling strategy and supervised non-linear hierarchical decision tree classification for the United States, Argentina and Brazil as the prototype in development of a new methodology for crop specific agricultural area estimation. Comparison of our 30 m2 Landsat soy classification with the National Agricultural Statistical Services Cropland Data Layer (CDL) soy map shows a strong agreement in the United States for 2011, 2012, and 2013. RapidEye 5m2 imagery was also classified for soy presence and absence and used at the field scale for validation and accuracy assessment of the Landsat soy maps, describing a nearly 1 to 1 relationship in the United States, Argentina and Brazil. The strong correlation found between all products suggests high accuracy and precision of the prototype and has proven to be a successful and efficient way to assess soybean cultivated area at the sub-national and national scale for the United States with great potential for application elsewhere.