Synergy of active and passive remote sensing data for effective mapping of oil palm plantation in Malaysia

Nazarin Ezzaty Mohd Najib, Kasturi Devi Kanniah (Lead / Corresponding author), Arthur P. Cracknell, Le Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


Oil palm is recognized as a golden crop, as it produces the highest oil yield among oil seed crops. Malaysia is the world's second largest producer of palm oil; 16% of its land is planted with oil palm. To cope with the ever-increasing global demand on edible oil, additional areas of oil palm are forecast to increase globally by 12 to 19 Mha by 2050. Multisensor remote sensing plays an important role in providing relevant, timely, and accurate information that can be developed into a plantation monitoring system to optimize production and sustainability. The aim of this study was to simultaneously exploit the synthetic aperture radar ALOS PALSAR 2, a form of microwave remote sensing, in combination with visible (red) data from Landsat Thematic Mapper to obtain a holistic view of a plantation. A manipulation of the horizontal-horizontal (HH) and horizontal-vertical (HV) polarizations of ALOS PALSAR data detected oil palm trees and water bodies, while the red spectra L-band from Landsat data (optical) could effectively identify built up areas and vertical-horizontal (VH) polarization from Sentinel C-band data detected bare land. These techniques produced an oil palm area classification with overall accuracies of 98.36% and 0.78 kappa coefficient for Peninsular Malaysia. The total oil palm area in Peninsular Malaysia was estimated to be about 3.48% higher than the value reported by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. The over estimation may be due the MPOB's statistics that do not include unregistered small holder oil palm plantations. In this study, we were able to discriminate most of the rubber areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number858
Number of pages24
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2020


  • Landsat
  • Malaysia
  • Mapping
  • Oil palm
  • Sentinel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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