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Remote Sens. 2010, 2(4), 1057-1076; doi:10.3390/rs2041057

Studies on the Rapid Expansion of Sugarcane for Ethanol Production in São Paulo State (Brazil) Using Landsat Data

* ,
National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Remote Sensing Division (DSR), São José dos Campos, 12227-010, São Paulo State, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 January 2010 / Revised: 24 March 2010 / Accepted: 25 March 2010 / Published: 9 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Croplands)
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This study’s overarching aim is to establish the areal extent and characteristics of the rapid sugarcane expansion and land use change in São Paulo state (Brazil) as a result of an increase in the demand for ethanol, using Landsat type remotely sensed data. In 2003 flex fuel automobiles started to enter the Brazilian consumer market causing a dramatic expansion of sugarcane areas from 2.57 million ha in 2003 to 4.45 million ha in 2008. Almost all the land use change, for the sugarcane expansion of crop year 2008/09, occurred on pasture and annual crop land, being equally distributed on each. It was also observed that during the 2008 harvest season, the burned sugarcane area was reduced to 50% of the total harvested area in response to a protocol that aims to cease sugarcane straw burning practice by 2014 for mechanized areas. This study indicates that remote sensing images have efficiently evaluated important characteristics of the sugarcane cultivation dynamic providing quantitative results that are relevant to the debate of sustainable ethanol production from sugarcane in Brazil.
Keywords: cropland; cultivated area; type of harvest; land use change cropland; cultivated area; type of harvest; land use change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rudorff, B.F.T.; Aguiar, D.A.; Silva, W.F.; Sugawara, L.M.; Adami, M.; Moreira, M.A. Studies on the Rapid Expansion of Sugarcane for Ethanol Production in São Paulo State (Brazil) Using Landsat Data. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 1057-1076.

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