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Basel, Switzerland

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Abstract/ Summary

High-precision land-cover-land-use GIS mapping was performed in four major townships in Maine’s Aroostook River Valley, using on-screen digitization and direct interpretation of very high spatial resolution satellite multispectral imagery (15–60 cm) and high spatial resolution LiDAR data (2 m) and the field mapping method. The project not only provides the first-ever high-precision land-use maps for northern Maine, but it also yields accurate hectarage estimates of different land-use types, in particular grassland, defined as fallow land, pasture, and hay field. This enables analysis of potential land availability and suitability for grass biomass production and other sustainable land uses. The results show that the total area of fallow land in the four towns is 7594 hectares, which accounts for 25% of total open land, and that fallow plots equal to or over four hectares in size total 4870, or 16% of open land. Union overlay analysis, using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil data, indicates that only a very small percentage of grassland (4.9%) is on “poorly-drained” or “very-poorly-drained” soils, and that most grassland (85%) falls into the “farmland of state importance” or “prime farmland” categories, as determined by NRCS. It is concluded that Maine’s Aroostook River Valley has an ample base of suitable, underutilized land for producing grass biomass.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wang, C.; Johnston, J.; Vail, D.; Dickinson, J.; Putnam, D. 2015. High-Precision Land-Cover-Land-Use GIS Mapping and Land Availability and Suitability Analysis for Grass Biomass Production in the Aroostook River Valley, Maine, USA. Land 4, 231-254.

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"© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ("


DOI: 10.3390/land4010231


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