Research & Studies

Cropland Productivity Evaluation: A 100 m Resolution Country Assessment Combining Earth Observation and Direct Measurements

The article was written with the contribution of Tamás Hermann, iASK researcher and Gergely Tóth, deputy-director, and was released in Remote Sensing in 2023.


A methodology is presented for the quantitative assessment of soil biomass productivity at 100 m spatial resolution on a national scale. The traditional land evaluation approach—where crop
yield is the dependent variable—was followed using measured yield and net primary productivity data derived from satellite images, together with digital soil and climate maps. In addition to
characterizing of soil biomass productivity based on measured data, the weight of soil properties on productivity was also quantified to provide measured soil health and soil quality indicators as an information base for designing sustainable land management practices. To produce these results, we used only the Random Forest method for our calculations. The study considers high-input agriculture, which is predominant in the country. Biomass productivity indices for the main crops (wheat, maize and sunflowers) and general productivity indices were calculated for the whole agricultural area of Hungary. Results can be implemented in cadastral systems, in applied in agricultural and rural development programs. The assessment can be repeated for monitoring purposes to support general monitoring objectives as well as for reporting in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, on the basis of the results, we also propose a method for periodically updating the assessment, which can also be used for monitoring biomass productivity in the context of climate change, land degradation and the development of cultivation technology

Keywords: random forest, land evaluation, soil, biomass, Hungary, gross primary productivity, soil health, soil quality

The article is available HERE, with full text.