Oil palm age classification

Motivation:

The majority of energy consumption in Thailand depends on the importation. Crude oil has the highest proportion at 80 percent of total domestic oil consumption, and the value is over 31 billion US dollars. The Thai government has promoted the Renewable and Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP 2012-2021) to strengthen the country energy security, to develop renewable energy sources to sustainably replacing fossil fuel and oil import in the future, and to move towards the low carbon society.

Biodiesel is one of the attractive renewable fuel sources in Thailand, and the main feedstock is obtained from oil palm. The AEDP target is set at 5.97 million liters per day by 2021. Such that, 880 thousands hectares of oil palm plantation will be required by 2021. In order to regulate this biodiesel alternative, the government has established the protocol-based strategy of oil palm industry (2004-2029) and has set the national development toward energy security as the most significant part of The 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2012-2016).

Objective:

Three questions of interest are arisen here; (1) Is oil palm expansion really restricted to the pre-existing crops? (2) How oil palm plantation and cultivation area are distributed spatially over the country? , and (3) Does a distribution of plantation in different stand ages influence the feedstock in the short and/or long term period?

Methods:

Remote sensing applications have been used to analyze agricultural land use changes in Krabi province, where the highest productivity of oil palm has been produced due to suitable climate and geology. Many classical approaches, for examples, ISODATA, maximum likelihood estimate, support vector machine, have been applied to analyze the spatial and temporal remote sensed data using a series of THEOS and Landsat satellite imaginaries. Then, appropriate advanced, spatial statistical modellings have been used for further applications.

Output:

Spatial and temporal distribution of oil palm plantation in Krabi province, Thailand: a prototype.

Outcome:

  • The use of very high resolution imagery for satellite crop monitoring and planning can be applied to assist policy makers for a better precision agriculture.

Publications:

1. Keson J., Wongsai S. and Ratchaniphont A. 2015. The impact of renewable energy policy-driven land use change in Krabi province, Thailand. The 3rd International Symposium on Energy Challenges and Mechanic – towards a big picture, July 7-9, 2015, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.
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