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Changing Field Sizes of the Conterminous United States, a Decennial Landsat Assessment

Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems
Project Description
The size of agricultural fields, whether delimiting pastoral or arable land uses, is a fundamental description of rural landscapes and provides a lens on the drivers of rural land cover land use change. To date, studies of the incidence, drivers and impacts of changing field sizes have not been undertaken over large areas because consistently processed appropriate resolution satellite data have not been available or affordable. This proposal leverages off the PI’s ongoing NASA funded Web Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) project that has demonstrated the potential of large volume systematic Landsat data processing to provide 30m time-series mosaic data sets of the conterminous United States (CONUS). This research will first develop and validate an automated computational methodology to extract cropland and grassland field boundaries and derive agricultural field sizes from the WELD processed Landsat data, second generate CONUS field size data sets for three decadal periods, third characterize the spatio-temporal distribution of field sizes for the CONUS, and fourth address explanatory hypotheses concerned with CONUS field size evolution. We hypothesize that field sizes in the main agricultural regions of the CONUS have increased in the last twenty years, driven by factors including a greater specialization of agricultural land uses, farm consolidation, adoption of genetically modified crops and treatments, and increased mechanization. Funded by NASA NNH09ZDA001N-LCLUC Land-Cover/Land-Use Change and Agriculture Applications. http://globalmonitoring.sdstate.edu/faculty/roy/roy.html
Project Administrator(s):
Cristina Milesi,
David Roy

Members

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Cristina Milesi
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David Roy
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Junchang Ju