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High-Precision Land-Cover-Land-Use GIS Mapping and Land Availability and Suitability Analysis for Grass Biomass Production in the Aroostook River Valley, Maine, USA

Author

Listed:
  • Chunzeng Wang

    () (College of Arts and Sciences, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME 04769, USA)

  • Jason Johnston

    () (College of Arts and Sciences, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME 04769, USA)

  • David Vail

    () (Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA)

  • Jared Dickinson

    () (College of Arts and Sciences, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME 04769, USA)

  • David Putnam

    () (College of Arts and Sciences, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME 04769, USA)

Abstract

High-precision land-cover-land-use GIS mapping was performed in four major townships in Maine’s Aroostook River Valley, using on-screen digitization and direct interpretation of very high spatial resolution satellite multispectral imagery (15–60 cm) and high spatial resolution LiDAR data (2 m) and the field mapping method. The project not only provides the first-ever high-precision land-use maps for northern Maine, but it also yields accurate hectarage estimates of different land-use types, in particular grassland, defined as fallow land, pasture, and hay field. This enables analysis of potential land availability and suitability for grass biomass production and other sustainable land uses. The results show that the total area of fallow land in the four towns is 7594 hectares, which accounts for 25% of total open land, and that fallow plots equal to or over four hectares in size total 4870, or 16% of open land. Union overlay analysis, using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil data, indicates that only a very small percentage of grassland (4.9%) is on “poorly-drained” or “very-poorly-drained” soils, and that most grassland (85%) falls into the “farmland of state importance” or “prime farmland” categories, as determined by NRCS. It is concluded that Maine’s Aroostook River Valley has an ample base of suitable, underutilized land for producing grass biomass.

Suggested Citation

  • Chunzeng Wang & Jason Johnston & David Vail & Jared Dickinson & David Putnam, 2015. "High-Precision Land-Cover-Land-Use GIS Mapping and Land Availability and Suitability Analysis for Grass Biomass Production in the Aroostook River Valley, Maine, USA," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:4:y:2015:i:1:p:231-254:d:47127
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marie Walsh & Daniel de la Torre Ugarte & Hosein Shapouri & Stephen Slinsky, 2003. "Bioenergy Crop Production in the United States: Potential Quantities, Land Use Changes, and Economic Impacts on the Agricultural Sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(4), pages 313-333, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    LCLU mapping; GIS; multispectral imagery; land availability analysis; land suitability analysis; grass biomass; Aroostook; Maine;

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations

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