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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Normalized Difference Water Index as a Tool for Monitoring Pasture Seasonal and Inter-Annual Variability in a Mediterranean Agro-Silvo-Pastoral System

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Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, Departamento de Engenharia Rural, Universidade de Évora, P.O. Box 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
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Agroinsider Lda. (Spin-off of Universidade de Évora), Parque Industrial e Tecnológico de Évora, R. Circular Norte, NERE, Sala 18, 7005-841 Évora, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010062
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 25 December 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Management Using Drones and Satellites in Agriculture)
Extensive animal production in Iberian Peninsula is based on pastures, integrated within the important agro-silvo-pastoral system, named “montado” in Portugal and “dehesa” in Spain. Temperature and precipitation are the main driving climatic factors affecting agricultural productivity and, in dryland pastures, the hydrological cycle of soil, identified by soil moisture content (SMC), is the main engine of the vegetation development. The objective of this work was to evaluate the normalized difference water index (NDWI) based on Sentinel-2 imagery as a tool for monitoring pasture seasonal dynamics and inter-annual variability in a Mediterranean agro-silvo-pastoral system. Forty-one valid NDWI records were used between January and June 2016 and between January 2017 and June 2018. The 2.3 ha experimental field is located within the “Mitra” farm, in the South of Portugal. Soil moisture content, pasture moisture content (PMC), pasture surface temperature (Tir), pasture biomass productivity and pasture quality degradation index (PQDI) were evaluated in 12 satellite pixels (10 m × 10 m). The results show significant correlations (p < 0.01) between NDWI and: (i) SMC (R2 = 0.7548); (ii) PMC (R2 = 0.8938); (iii) Tir (R2 = 0.5428); (iv) biomass (R2 = 0.7556); and (v) PQDI (R2 = 0.7333). These findings suggest that satellite-derived NDWI can be used in site-specific management of “montado” ecosystem to support farmers’ decision making. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sentinel-2; soil moisture content; pasture moisture content; decision making Sentinel-2; soil moisture content; pasture moisture content; decision making
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MDPI and ACS Style

Serrano, J.; Shahidian, S.; Marques da Silva, J. Evaluation of Normalized Difference Water Index as a Tool for Monitoring Pasture Seasonal and Inter-Annual Variability in a Mediterranean Agro-Silvo-Pastoral System. Water 2019, 11, 62.

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