Category: Agriculture

News Archive
The Philippines’ famed Banaue Rice Terraces, pictured here

Future Grains

When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, the costs of many basic dietary staples doubled or even tripled around the world, sparking protests and riots. Panicked governments stopped exporting food, aggravating the crisis.

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An enhanced vegetation index from Landsat imagery

Tracking Agricultural Water Use on a Smartphone

This fall scientists at the University of Nebraska, with partners at Google Inc., the University of Idaho and the Desert Research Institute, introduced the latest evolution of METRIC technology—an application called EEFLUX, which will allow anyone in the world to produce field-scale maps of water consumption.

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migrating birds

Landsat Helps Feed the Birds

The BirdReturns program, created by The Nature Conservancy of California, is an effort to provide “pop-up habitats” for some of the millions of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers, that migrate each year from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada to their winter habitats in California, Mexico, Central and South America.

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An abandoned farmstead in eastern Montana

Modeling a Changing American Landscape

Land change is a signature activity of human civilization. Since the dawn of history, people have purposefully converted natural landscapes to human-dominated areas. Typical motivations for land change are cultivation (e.g. slash-and-burn fields, rice paddies, modern farms); occupation (villages, cities, housing developments); and other cultural and economic pursuits (roads, schools, airports).

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Landsat and Water: Using Space to Advance Resource Solutions

A recent White House-led assessment found that Landsat is among the Nation’s most critical Earth observing systems, second only to GPS and weather. A new USGS study, Landsat and Water — Case Studies of the Uses and Benefits of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources, provides examples of why Landsat is so valuable.

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Landsat's Role in Water Resource Management

Water availability and allocation are issues gaining a great deal of attention, particularly in arid climates. Increases in population growth and recent droughts bring urgency to measuring and monitoring water use in areas such as the western United States, where the majority of the water has already been allocated.

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Remembering Robert B. MacDonald

Earlier this year on Jan. 7, 2014, a giant in the world of Landsat applied science— Robert B. MacDonald—passed away. MacDonald was largely responsible for first envisioning and formulating how to use early Landsat data to estimate global crop production.

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The Grapes of Landsat

California’s persistent drought is forcing grape growers to keep a more-attentive-than-normal eye on their vines, as water shortages and elevated temperatures alter this year’s growing season.

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