Using image texture to map farmland field size: a case study in Eastern Europe


Eastern Europe provides unique opportunities to study changes in land use patterns, because much farmland became parcelized in the post-socialist period (i.e. large fields were broken up into smaller ones). Classification-based remote sensing approaches, however, do not capture such land cover modifications and new approaches based on continuous indicators are needed. Our goal is to develop a novel method to map farmland field size based on image texture. We fitted linear regression models to relate field size to Landsat-based image texture for a study area in the border region of Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Texture explained up to 93% of the variability in field size. Our field size map revealed marked differences among countries and these differences appear to be related to socialist land-ownership patterns and post-socialist land reform strategies. Image texture has great potential for mapping land use patterns and may contribute to a better understanding of land cover modifications in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Journal of Land Use Science, 4(1-2) 85-107
Tobias Kuemmerle
Tobias Kuemmerle
Professor & Head of the Conservation Biogeography Lab