Monitoring and modeling cropland loss in rapidly growing urban and depopulating rural counties using remotely sensed data and GIS

  • Petrov A
  • Sugumaran R
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Iowa is the leading agricultural state in the USA. Increasing suburban and rural development as well as industrial and commercial growth threaten Iowa's unique farmlands and cause their rapid conversion into other land uses. Thus, detecting spatial patterns of cropland loss and predicting future loss are important issues for better agricultural planning and management. This study provides a unique approach for monitoring and modeling cropland loss in Iowa, focusing on differences between rapidly growing urban counties and rural depopulating counties. The monitoring of farmland loss is based on classified 1984, 1992, and 2000 two-season Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) satellite imagery. The modeling approach used joint cellular automata - Markov simulation procedures to predict cropland loss for 2008 and 2016. Mapping of cropland dynamics, using remotely sensed data in urban and rural counties between 1984 and 2000, revealed that there was a significant decline of croplands in Iowa. The simulation of land cover changes for 2008 and 2016 showed continuing decline of croplands in both urban and rural counties. The results of the study can be used by local planners and managers for the development and application of sustainable agriculture practices in Iowa.

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  • Andrey N. Petrov

  • Ramanathan Sugumaran

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