Assessing Pasture Degradation in the Brazilian Cerrado Based on the Analysis of MODIS NDVI

Remote Sensing
Ribeiro Pereira, Osvaldo Jose; Ferreira, Laerte G.; Pinto, Flavia; Baumgarten, Leandro
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Volume / Issue10/11
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Total Pages14 pages
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TagsGoogle Earth Engine; time-series; cumulative anomalies; cattle ranching
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Publication DateNovember 08, 2018
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AbstractAround 55% of all Brazilian cattle production is located in the Cerrado biome, which also contains the largest pasture area in Brazil. Previous studies indicated that about 60% of these pastures were degraded by 2010. However, up-to-date and more precise estimates are necessary to access the extent and degree of degradation of the Cerrado pastures, since these areas constitute strategic land reserves for both livestock intensification and soybean expansion. Therefore, in this study, we estimated the area of degraded pastures in the Cerrado by analyzing the trends of cumulative NDVI anomalies over time used as a proxy for pasture degradation. The generated slope surface was segmented into two classes, comprising non-degraded and degraded pastures, which were correlated with socio-economic and biophysical variables. According to our study, around 46% of the Cerrado pastures are currently degraded, encompassing 37 million hectares, mostly in areas with a cattle carrying capacity below 1.0 AU ha−1. These areas, distributed in the northwest Cerrado, mostly within the Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, and Bahia (i.e., Matopiba region), tend to be associated with decreasing rainfall patterns and low investments in soil conservation practices. The degraded areas also tend to be concentrated in municipalities with low human development indices (HDI).
Created: 12/20/2018 4:19 PM (ET)
Modified: 12/20/2018 4:19 PM (ET)
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