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

Gumma, M K and Thenkabail, P S and Kumara Charyulu, D and Mohammed, I A and Teluguntla, P and Oliphant, A and Xiong, J and Aye, T and Whitbread, A M (2018) Mapping cropland fallow areas in Myanmar to scale up sustainable intensification of pulse crops in the farming system. GIScience & Remote Sensing (TSI), 55 (6). pp. 926-949. ISSN 1548-1603

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cropland fallows, rice fallows, MODIS time series data, Myanmar, ground survey data, cropping systems, short-duration pulses, grain legumes, Moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer, pulses
Subjects: Others > GIS Techniques/Remote Sensing
Others > Farming Systems
Others > Cropping and Farming Systems
Others > Asia
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 04:11
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2019 10:11
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the USGS [GFSAD30m];CGIAR research program Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and through the Pyawt Ywar Pump Irrigation Project led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) [CGIAR-WLE];CGIAR research program Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) [CCAFS-SEA];
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