Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A hybrid remote sensing approach to quantifying crop residue burning in the United States

By J. L. McCarty, T. Loboda and Simon Trigg


Crop residue burning is an important land use activity in the United States. Currently, satellite-based burned area methodologies specifically calibrated for crop residue burning are limited. This article describes a satellite observations- based hybrid approach to estimate the amount of burned crop residues that combines Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 8-day differencing of Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) burned area mapping with MODIS active fire counts calibrated into area. The dNBR approach utilizes the spectral response of the 2.1-gum shortwave infrared MODIS band to detect burned pixels. A time series of 8-day MODIS composites produces burned area estimates during harvest on a near-weekly scale. This approach was tested on the study area of MODIS tile h10v05, which encompasses much of the Mississippi River Delta and the southern Great Plains, for the years 2003 through 2006. Within this area, an average of 12,700 and 10,835 km2 burned in the spring and fall harvests, respectively. Results from the hybrid approach are validated through comparison with high-resolution Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data and field data. Validation of the hybrid approach shows strong correspondence with both the ASTER (mean R2 = 0.92) and in-situ data (mean accuracy 85.5%). At the state level, the estimated burn rates from this analysis compare well with reported Arkansas burn rates. Results suggest potential for using the approach to monitor and quantify fire activity in cropland areas of the United States

Topics: Remote sensing, Fire, Crop residues, Burned area, MODIS
Publisher: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

Suggested articles


  1. (2005). A survey of crop residue burning practices in Manitoba. doi
  2. (2004). Acreage. Washington, D.C.: Agricultural Statistics Board, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at e-06-30-2004.pdf.
  3. (2005). Acreage. Washington, D.C.: Agricultural Statistics Board, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at e-06-30-2005.pdf.
  4. (2006). Acreage. Washington, D.C.: Agricultural Statistics Board, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at e-06-30-2006.pdf. Accessed: 15
  5. (2007). Agricultural burning in the southeastern United States detected by MODIS. doi
  6. (2002). Air pollutant emissions associated with forest, grassland, and agricultural burning in Texas. doi
  7. (2003). An assessment of biofuel use and burning of agricultural waste in the developing world. doi
  8. (2003). An enhanced contextual fire detection algorithm for MODIS. Remote Sensing of Environment 87(2-3): doi
  9. (2001). An evaluation of different bi-spectral spaces for discriminating burned shrub-savannah. doi
  10. (2003). Arkansas Harvesting Big Rice Crop.
  11. (2002). Atmospheric correction of MODIS data in the visible to middle infrared: first results. Remote Sensing of Environment 83(1-2): doi
  12. (1992). Atmospheric emissions from agricultural burning in California: determination of burn fractions, distribution factors, and crop-specific contributions. doi
  13. (1991). Biomass burning: Its history, use, and distribution and its impacts on the environmental quality and global change. Global Biomass Burning: Atmospheric, Climatic, and Biosphere Implications,
  14. (2004). Burned area detection at global scale using ATSR-2: The GLOBSCAR products and their qualification. doi
  15. (2007). Burnt area estimation for the year 2005 in Borneo using multi-resolution satellite imagery. doi
  16. (1999). Comparing effects of aggregation method on statistical and spatial properties of simulated spatial data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
  17. (2008). Components of MODIS. Available at
  18. (2004). Continental-scale partitioning of fire emissions during the 1997 to 2001 El Niño/La Niña period. doi
  19. (2007). D.C.: Agricultural Statistics Board, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at e-06-30-2003.pdf.
  20. (2002). Development of a MODIS tree cover validation data set for Western Province, Zambia. Remote Sensing of Environment 83(1-2): doi
  21. (2006). Emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States 2005: Nitrous Oxide. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Report no.: DOE/EIA-0573(2005). Available at nitrous.html.
  22. (2006). Estimating emissions from fires in North America for air quality modeling. doi
  23. (2007). Evaluation of the agricultural residues burning reduction in China using MODIS fire product.
  24. (2007). Florida Division of Forestry Prescribed Fire Special Case Night Burn Areas. Available at
  25. (2006). Global distribution of agricultural fires from three years of MODIS data. doi
  26. (2006). Global estimation of burned area using MODIS active fire observations. doi
  27. (2002). Global land cover mapping from MODIS: algorithms and early results. Remote Sensing of the Environment doi
  28. (2007). Idaho State Department of Agriculture: Idaho Crop Residue Disposal Program (Smoke Management). Available at eDisposal/indexsmoke.php.
  29. (2006). Impact of tillage and residue burning on carbon dioxide flux in a wheat-soybean production system. doi
  30. (2007). Impacts of Russian biomass burning on UK air quality. doi
  31. (2005). In Mid-South: Wheat acreages declines.
  32. (1991). Mapping burns and natural reforestation using Thematic Mapper data. doi
  33. (1998). Mechanical Harvesting in Florida: Elements of Sugarcane Production Short Course. Publication of the University of Florida Extension Service.
  34. (2004). National Weather Service Southern Regional Headquarters Monthly Climate Summary for Little Rock (October).Available at
  35. (2002). Non-burning management alternatives on agricultural lands in the western United States. Volume I:
  36. (2006). Particulate emissions from wheat and Kentucky bluegrass stubble burning in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. doi
  37. (1991). Problems in global fire evaluations: is remote sensing the solution? Global Biomass Burning, Atmospheric, Climatic, and Biospheric Implications, doi
  38. (2005). Prototyping a global algorithm for systematic fire-affected area mapping using MODIS time series data. Remote Sensing of Environment doi
  39. (2007). Regionally adaptable dNBR based algorithm for burned area mapping from MODIS data. Remote Sensing of Environment doi
  40. (2004). Research and development of emission inventories for planned burning activities for the Central State Regional Air Planning Association.
  41. (1994). Spatial and temporal distribution of tropical biomass. doi
  42. (2000). Sugarcane: Sugarcane Production Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  43. (1979). Thatch and tiller size as influenced by residue management in Kentucky bluegrass seed management. doi
  44. (2003). The use of ATSR active fire counts for estimating relative patterns of biomass burning - a study from the boreal forest region. doi
  45. (2005). Validation of the MODIS active fire product over Southern Africa with ASTER data. doi
  46. Vegetation burning in the year 2000: Global burned area estimates from SPOT VEGETATION data. doi
  47. (2007). Washington State Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, Agricultural Burning. Available at age.htm.
  48. (2004). Wet October puts halt to harvest.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.