Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Volume 1)

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Resources Development and Environmental Management / Enschede / August 1986 
Double sampling for rice in Bangladesh using Landsat MSS data 
Barry N.Haack 
George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., USA 
Abstract: Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data were utilized to assess the location and area of the 
winter or boro rice crop for a study site in Bangladesh. Both digital classifications and visual interpre 
tations of the Landsat data were conducted using a double sampling between the Landsat analyses and govern 
mental reported acreages for ten administrative units. The digital data were classified using a table look 
up of MSS Bands 5 and 7 and the visual analysis conducted with an enlarged false color composite subscene 
and a rearview projector. Both techniques located about one-half of the reported acreage but had correlations 
between the reported and Landsat data for the ten units of over 0.90. This study indicates that double 
sampling with Landsat data can be an effective technique for the inventory of renewable resources in rural 
A common problem to many decision-makers, 
particularly in less developed countries, is the 
inadequacy of information on the available 
resource base. Without accurate information 
decision makers often fail to make decisions or 
make incorrect decisions. Sound decisions depend 
on accurate information, yet every low income 
country faces severe competing demands for the 
financial and human commitments necessary to staff 
an information system equal to its decision-making 
requirements (Cummings, 1977). The frequent 
inadequacy of resource base information may be due 
to difficulties in accessing some regions; lack of 
trained personnel, equipment or funds to collect 
information properly; or rapid changes in the 
resource base not detectable by traditional data 
collection methods such as the high rates of 
deforestation in many areas of the world caused by 
increasing population pressures. One technique 
which may be utilized to resolve some of these 
informational needs is remote sensing and 
especially operational spaceborne remote sensing 
systems such as Landsat (NAS, 1977). The Landsat 
series of satellites have provided essentially 
global data, relatively inexpensively and on a 
repetitive basis since 1972. 
Bangladesh has an intense need to increase the 
efficiency of national land use for food and fiber 
production. One action taken by the Government to 
address this problem was the formation of the 
Landsat Task Force composed of scientists and 
resource managers from several ministries. The 
purpose of the Task Force was to assess the 
applicability of and utilize satellite and other 
remote sensing technologies in Bangladesh. 
Preliminary investigations conducted by the 
Landsat Task Force produced promising results for 
winter rice crop identification, water course 
mapping, and forest inventory among others. 
Because of these initial successes the Government 
of Bangladesh has further developed its scientific 
and technical capabilities in satellite remote 
This study examined the ability of Landsat data 
to conduct an inventory of the winter rice crop in 
Bangladesh. Once the location and extent of 
current winter rice is adequately known, methods 
to increase the yield of this rice or locate new 
rice production areas can be pursued. 
Bangladesh is composed largely of alluvial and 
deltaic terrain. The low surface relief, 
relatively fertile soils, and intense population 
pressures result in approximately 60 percent of 
the land being used for agricultural production, 
with rice being grown on over 70 percent of the 
cropped area. The climate is tropical, with 
monsoonal rains in late spring, summer and early 
fall. Winter, however, is dry and cool, and only 
a few areas where there are natural depressions 
which were flooded in late fall, or where 
irrigation is practiced, are suitable for rice 
growing. In an effort to increase the production 
of the winter or boro rice crop, the Government 
has encouraged additional irrigation by supplying 
the necessary water pumps. For management and 
planning purposes, the Government would like to 
know the effect of this program. This information 
has proved either difficult to obtain or of 
questionable accuracy because of the poorly 
developed infrastructure associated with 
agricultural statistics reporting. This project 
examined techniques using Landsat data to provide 
information on both the location and extent of 
boro rice. 
The study site selected for this analysis was 
approximately 8500 square kilometers located east 
of the capital of Dhaka. This area is along the 
Meghna River and included parts of Buidya Bazar 
Thana, Rubgonj Thana and the Dhaka-Narayangonj- 
Demra Agricultural Project. This study area was 
selected because it; 1) was an area of known boro 
rice production both in large contiguous blocks 
and small individual fields, 2) was suitable for 
expansion of boro rice production, 3) had 
excellent proximity to Dhaka for field work and A) 
had available agricultural statistical information 
by administrative units, unions, within the Thanas 
(Chaudhury, 1978). 
A crop calender was constructed for the boro 
rice by discussions with agricultural officers and 
farmers within the study area. From those 
discussions, it was determined that the boro rice 
seedlings are raised in seedbeds in November, 
transplanted to the main fields in December and 
January and harvested in April or May, prior to 
the monsoon. The latter part of March is the time 
of maximum green vegetative cover by the boro 
rice. Other winter crops such as Rabi vegetables

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