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Remote Sens. 2011, 3(12), 2682-2703; doi:10.3390/rs3122682

Remote Sensing Images in Support of Environmental Protocol: Monitoring the Sugarcane Harvest in São Paulo State, Brazil

* ,
Remote Sensing Division (DSR), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Av. dos Astronautas, 1758, São José dos Campos, SP 12227-010, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2011 / Revised: 9 December 2011 / Accepted: 9 December 2011 / Published: 13 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Support of Environmental Policy)
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Traditional manual sugarcane harvesting requires the pre-harvest burning practice which should be gradually banned by 2021 for most of São Paulo State, Brazil, on cultivated sugarcane land (terrain slope ≤12%) according to State Law number 11241. To forward the end of this practice to 2014, a “Green Ethanol” Protocol was established in 2007. The present work aims at analyzing five years of continuous sugarcane harvest monitoring, based on remote sensing images, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Protocol, thus helping decision makers to establish public policies to meet the Protocol’s expected goals. During the last five crop years, sugarcane acreage expanded by 1.5 million ha, which was compensated by a correspondent increase in the green harvested land. However, no significant reduction was observed in the amount of pre-harvest burned land over the same period. Based on the current trend, this goal is likely to be achieved one or two years later (2015–2016), which will be five or six years ahead of 2021 as the goal in the State Law number 11241 states. We thus conclude that the“Green Ethanol” Protocol has been effective with a positive impact on the increase of GH, especially on recently expanded sugarcane fields.
Keywords: “Green Ethanol” Protocol; green harvest; pre-harvest burning; satellite images “Green Ethanol” Protocol; green harvest; pre-harvest burning; satellite images
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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Aguiar, D.A.; Rudorff, B.F.T.; Silva, W.F.; Adami, M.; Mello, M.P. Remote Sensing Images in Support of Environmental Protocol: Monitoring the Sugarcane Harvest in São Paulo State, Brazil. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 2682-2703.

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