The Brazilian Amazon is one of the most rapidly developing agricultural frontiers in the world. The authors assess changes in cropland area and the intensification of cropping in the Brazilian agricultural frontier state of Mato Grosso using remote sensing and develop a greenhouse gas emissions budget. The most common type of intensification in this region is a shift from single-to double-cropping patterns and associated changes in management, including increased fertilization. Using the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor, the authors created a green-leaf phenology for 2001-06 that was temporally smoothed with a wavelet filter. The wavelet-smoothed green-leaf phenology was analyzed to detect cropland areas and their cropping patterns. The authors document cropland extensification and double-cropping intensification validated with field data with 85% accuracy for detecting croplands and 64% and 89% accuracy for detecting single-and double-cropping patterns, respectively. The results show that croplands more than doubled from 2001 to 2006 to cover about 100 000 km 2 and that new double-cropping intensification occurred on over 20% of croplands. Variations are seen in the annual rates of extensification and double-cropping intensification. Greenhouse gas emissions are estimated for the period 2001-06 due to conversion of natural vegetation and pastures to row-crop agriculture in Mato Grosso averaged 179 Tg CO2-e yr21, over half the typical fossil fuel emissions for the country in recent years. Copyright © 2010, Paper 14-015; 9310.
Galford GL, Melillo J, Mustard JF, Cerri CE, Cerri CC. The Amazon frontier of land-use change: croplands and consequences for greenhouse gas emissions. Earth Interactions. 2010 Oct 28;14(15):1-24.