Land, Vol. 12, Pages 1112: Evaluating the Applicability of Global LULC Products and an Author-Generated Phenology-Based Map for Regional Analysis: A Case Study in Ecuador’s Ecoregions
Gladys Maria Villegas Rugel
Jose Miguel Menendez
Frieke Van Coillie
An accurate and detailed understanding of land-use change affected by anthropogenic actions is key to environmental policy decision-making and implementation. Although global land cover products have been widely used to monitor and analyse land use/land cover (LULC) change, the feasibility of using these products at the regional level needs to be assessed due to the limitation and biases of generalised models from around the world. The main objective of the present study was to generate regional LULC maps of three target areas located in the main ecoregions of Ecuador at a resolution of 10 m using Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud-based computing. Our approach is based on (1) Single Date Classification (SDC) that processes Sentinel-2 data into fuzzy rule-driven thematic classes, (2) rule refinement using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) data, and (3) phenology-based synthesis (PBS) classification that combines SDC into LULC based on the occurrence rule. Our results show that the three target areas were classified with an overall accuracy of over 80%. In addition, cross-comparison between the global land cover products and our LULC product was performed and we found discrepancies and inaccuracies in the global products due to the characteristics of the target areas that included a dynamic landscape. Our LULC product supplements existing official statistics and showcases the effectiveness of phenology-based mapping in managing land use by providing precise and timely data to support agricultural policies and ensure food security.
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