A defensible, next generation approach to quantifying and characterizing land use change

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this project is to provide strategic guidance through an improved approach to characterizing land-use change (LUC) to enhance the sustainability and environmental quality of the application of renewable biomass technologies. We hypothesize that a multi-faceted approach that combines farmer-based reporting, remote sensing data, and aerial images will accurately, efficiently, and inexpensively quantify and characterize LUC. This approach will allow the identification and subsequent mitigation of undesired conversion of grasslands, wetlands, and forests to agricultural lands and inform land use policy to support the production of biofuel feedstocks and collection of agricultural residues that sustainably make use of the U.S. land base. Very high resolution aerial imagery has not yet been used to improve LUC analyses that involve farmer survey data and/or remote sensing data. We will develop such a method, addressing challenges such as the different resolutions of aerial imagery as compared to remote sensing and farmer-derived data and quantifying uncertainty when multiple data sources are used to compile an LUC estimate. Finally, the proposed project is novel in its deliberate inclusion of a public dialogue with stakeholders around this new approach to characterizing LUC that requires expertise from numerous experts in fields of farmer surveys, remote sensing, satellite imagery, machine learning, computer vision, and biofuel sustainability analysis.
Effective start/end date9/1/188/31/22


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (2018-10008-28530)


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