Towards a global oil palm sample database: Design and implications

Yuqi Cheng, Le Yu (Lead / Corresponding author), Yuanyuan Zhao, Yidi Xu, Kwame Hackman, Arthur P. Cracknell, Peng Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Global oil palm plantations have expanded in the last few decades, resulting in negative impacts on the environment. Satellite remote sensing plays an important role in monitoring the expansion of oil palm plantations, but requires high-quality ground samples for training and validation. To facilitate the monitoring of oil palm plantations on a large scale, we propose an oil palm sample database that includes the five countries with the largest areas of oil palm plantations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Ghana. In total, 45,896 samples were collected using a hexagonal sampling design. High-resolution images from Google Earth, the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) images, and Landsat optical images were used to identify oil palm plantations and other types of land cover (croplands, forests, grasslands, shrublands, water, hard surfaces, and bare land). The characteristics of oil palm cover and its environment, including PALSAR backscattering coefficients, terrain, and climate recorded in this database are also discussed. The results indicate that using the PALSAR band algebra threshold alone is not recommended to distinguish oil palm from other land-cover/use types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4022-4032
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number14
Early online date10 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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