Mapping cropland fallow areas in myanmar to scale up sustainable intensification of pulse crops in the farming system

GIScience and Remote Sensing
By: , and 

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Abstract

Cropland fallows are the next best-bet for intensification and extensification, leading to increased food production and adding to the nutritional basket. The agronomical suitability of these lands can decide the extent of usage of these lands. Myanmar’s agricultural land (over 13.8 Mha) has the potential to expand by another 50% into additional fallow areas. These areas may be used to grow short-duration pulses, which are economically important and nutritionally rich, and constitute the diets of millions of people as well as provide an important source of livestock feed throughout Asia. Intensifying rice fallows will not only improve the productivity of the land but also increase the income of the smallholder farmers. The enhanced cultivation of pulses will help improve nutritional security in Myanmar and also help conserve natural resources and reduce environmental degradation. The objectives of this study was to use remote sensing methods to identify croplands in Myanmar and cropland fallow areas in two important agro-ecological regions, delta and coastal region and the dry zone. The study used moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) 250-m, 16-day normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) maximum value composite (MVC), and land surface water index (LSWI) for one 1 year (1 June 2012–31 May 2013) along with seasonal field-plot level information and spectral matching techniques to derive croplands versus cropland fallows for each of the three seasons: the monsoon period between June and October; winter period between November and February; and summer period between March and May. The study showed that Myanmar had total net cropland area (TNCA) of 13.8 Mha. Cropland fallows during the monsoon season account for a meagre 2.4% of TNCA. However, in the winter season, 56.5% of TNCA (or 7.8 Mha) were classified as cropland fallows and during the summer season, 82.7% of TNCA (11.4 Mha) were cropland fallows. The producer’s accuracy of the cropland fallow class varied between 92 and 98% (errors of omission of 2 to 8%) and user’s accuracy varied between 82 and 92% (errors of commission of 8 to 18%) for winter and summer, respectively. Overall, the study estimated 19.2 Mha cropland fallows from the two major seasons (winter and summer). Out of this, 10.08 Mha has sufficient moisture (either from rainfall or stored soil water content) to grow short-season pulse crops. This potential with an estimated income of US\$ 300 per hectare, if exploited sustainably, is estimated to bring an additional net income of about US\$ 1.5 billion to Myanmar per year if at least half (5.04 Mha) of the total cropland fallows (10.08 Mha) is covered with short season pulses.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mapping cropland fallow areas in myanmar to scale up sustainable intensification of pulse crops in the farming system
Series title GIScience and Remote Sensing
DOI 10.1080/15481603.2018.1482855
Volume 55
Issue 6
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 24 p.
First page 926
Last page 949
Country Myanmar