Mapping rice-fallow cropland areas for short-season grain legumes intensification in South Asia using MODIS 250 m time-series data

Gumma, M K and Thenkabail, P S and Teluguntla, P and Rao, M N and Mohammed, I A and Whitbread, A M (2016) Mapping rice-fallow cropland areas for short-season grain legumes intensification in South Asia using MODIS 250 m time-series data. International Journal of Digital Earth, 09 (10). pp. 981-1003. ISSN 1753-8947

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The goal of this study was to map rainfed and irrigated rice-fallow cropland areas across South Asia, using MODIS 250 m time-series data and identify where the farming system may be intensified by the inclusion of a short-season crop during the fallow period. Rice-fallow cropland areas are those areas where rice is grown during the kharif growing season (June–October), followed by a fallow during the rabi season (November–February). These cropland areas are not suitable for growing rabi-season rice due to their high water needs, but are suitable for a short -season (≤3 months), low water-consuming grain legumes such as chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), black gram, green gram, and lentils. Intensification (double-cropping) in this manner can improve smallholder farmer’s incomes and soil health via rich nitrogen-fixation legume crops as well as address food security challenges of ballooning populations without having to expand croplands. Several grain legumes, primarily chickpea, are increasingly grown across Asia as a source of income for smallholder farmers and at the same time providing rich and cheap source of protein that can improve the nutritional quality of diets in the region. The suitability of rainfed and irrigated rice-fallow croplands for grain legume cultivation across South Asia were defined by these identifiers: (a) rice crop is grown during the primary (kharif) crop growing season or during the north-west monsoon season (June–October); (b) same croplands are left fallow during the second (rabi) season or during the south-east monsoon season (November–February); and (c) ability to support low water-consuming, short-growing season (≤3 months) grain legumes (chickpea, black gram, green gram, and lentils) during rabi season. Existing irrigated or rainfed crops such as rice or wheat that were grown during kharif were not considered suitable for growing during the rabi season, because the moisture/water demand of these crops is too high. The study established cropland classes based on the every 16-day 250 m normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series for one year (June 2010–May 2011) of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, using spectral matching techniques (SMTs), and extensive field knowledge. Map accuracy was evaluated based on independent ground survey data as well as compared with available sub-national level statistics. The producers’ and users’ accuracies of the cropland fallow classes were between 75% and 82%. The overall accuracy and the kappa coefficient estimated for rice classes were 82% and 0.79, respectively. The analysis estimated approximately 22.3 Mha of suitable rice-fallow areas in South Asia, with 88.3% in India, 0.5% in Pakistan, 1.1% in Sri Lanka, 8.7% in Bangladesh, 1.4% in Nepal, and 0.02% in Bhutan. Decision-makers can target these areas for sustainable intensification of short-duration grain legumes.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes
CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Croplands, cropland fallow, seasonal rice mapping, rice-fallow, intensification, kharif, rabi, remote sensing, double-cropping, MODIS 250 m, NDVI, spectral matching techniques, ground survey data, grain legumes, potential cropland areas, South Asia
Subjects: Others > Food Legumes
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 08:19
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 07:42
Official URL:
Funders: This research was supported by two CGIAR Research Programs: Dryland Cereals, Grain Legumes and WLE
Acknowledgement: Authors would like thank to International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for providing ground survey data and district- wise national statistics; Dr Dheeravath Venkateshwarlu, Dr Andrew Nelson, and Dr Mitch Scull for supporting ground surveys in India; Dr Saidul Islam for Bangladesh ground survey data; Dr Nimal Desanayake for Sri Lanka ground survey data. This research was supported by two CGIAR Research Programs: Dryland Cereals, Grain legumes and WLE. The research was also supported by the global food security support analysis data at 30 m project (GFSAD30; http://; funded by the NASA MEaSUREs [grant number: NNH13AV82I] (Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments) funding obtained through NASA ROSES solicitation as well as by the Land Change Science (LCS), Land Remote Sensing (LRS), and Climate Land Use Change Mission Area Programs of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
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