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Open AccessFeature PaperReview

Remote Sensing and Cropping Practices: A Review

CIRAD, UMR TETIS, Maison de la Télédétection, 500 rue J.-F. Breton, 34093 Montpellier, France
CIRAD, Univ. Montpellier, 34 Montpellier, France
CNRS, UMR 6554 LETG-Univ. Rennes 2, 35043 Rennes, France
CIRAD, UPR Forests & Societies, 34398 Montpellier, France
INTA, Instituto de Clima y Agua, Hurlingham Buenos Aires 1686, Argentina
EMBRAPA Embrapa Solos, Rio de Janeiro 22460-000, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ/FEN/DESC/PPGMA), Rio de Janeiro 20550-900, Brazil
Facultad de Agronomia—Universidad de Buenos Aires and CONICET, Buenos Aires 1417, Argentina
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 99;
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
For agronomic, environmental, and economic reasons, the need for spatialized information about agricultural practices is expected to rapidly increase. In this context, we reviewed the literature on remote sensing for mapping cropping practices. The reviewed studies were grouped into three categories of practices: crop succession (crop rotation and fallowing), cropping pattern (single tree crop planting pattern, sequential cropping, and intercropping/agroforestry), and cropping techniques (irrigation, soil tillage, harvest and post-harvest practices, crop varieties, and agro-ecological infrastructures). We observed that the majority of the studies were exploratory investigations, tested on a local scale with a high dependence on ground data, and used only one type of remote sensing sensor. Furthermore, to be correctly implemented, most of the methods relied heavily on local knowledge on the management practices, the environment, and the biological material. These limitations point to future research directions, such as the use of land stratification, multi-sensor data combination, and expert knowledge-driven methods. Finally, the new spatial technologies, and particularly the Sentinel constellation, are expected to improve the monitoring of cropping practices in the challenging context of food security and better management of agro-environmental issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: cropping system; crop succession; rotation; cropping pattern; multiple cropping; agroforestry; irrigation; soil tillage; harvest; intercropping; fallow cropping system; crop succession; rotation; cropping pattern; multiple cropping; agroforestry; irrigation; soil tillage; harvest; intercropping; fallow
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Bégué, A.; Arvor, D.; Bellon, B.; Betbeder, J.; De Abelleyra, D.; P. D. Ferraz, R.; Lebourgeois, V.; Lelong, C.; Simões, M.; R. Verón, S. Remote Sensing and Cropping Practices: A Review. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 99.

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