12 Sep 2023
 | 12 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Annual time-series 1-km maps of crop area and types in the conterminous US (CropAT-US): cropping diversity changes during 1850–2021

Shuchao Ye, Peiyu Cao, and Chaoqun Lu

Abstract. Agricultural activities have been recognized as an important driver of land use and cover changes (LUCC) and have significantly impacted ecosystem feedback to climate, air, and water quality by altering land surface properties. A reliable historical cropland distribution dataset is crucial for understanding and quantifying the legacy effects of agriculture-related LUCC. While several LUCC datasets have the potential to depict cropland patterns in the conterminous US, there remains a dearth of a high-resolution dataset with crop type details over a long period. To address this gap, we reconstructed historical cropland density and crop type maps from 1850 to 2021 at a resolution of 1 km×1 km by integrating inventory datasets and gridded LUCC products. The results showed that the developed dataset is highly consistent with the county-level inventory data, with an R2 approaching one and RMSE less than 3 Mha (million hectares) at the national level. Temporally, the US total crop acreage has increased by 118 Mha from 1850 to 2021, primarily driven by corn (30 Mha) and soybean (35 Mha). Spatially, the hotspots of cropland shifted from Eastern US to the Midwest and the Great Plains, and the dominant crop types (corn and soybean) moved toward the Northwest of the US. Moreover, we found the US cropping system diversity experienced a significant increase from 1850s to 1960s, followed by a dramatic decrease in the recent six decades under the intensified agriculture. Generally, the developed dataset could facilitate the spatial data development in delineating crop-specific management practices and enable the quantification of cropland change impacts.

Shuchao Ye et al.

Status: open (until 31 Oct 2023)

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Shuchao Ye et al.

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Annual time-series 1-km maps of crop area and types in the conterminous US (CropAT-US) during 1850-2021 Shuchao Ye, Peiyu Cao, Chaoqun Lu

Shuchao Ye et al.


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Short summary
In this study, we reconstructed the annual cropland density and crop type map from 1850 to 2021 at 1 km by 1 km resolution. The cropland density map presents the distribution and percentage of planted area in each 1 km by 1 km pixel. The crop type map displays the distribution of nine major crop types (corn, soybean, winter wheat, spring wheat, durum wheat, cotton, sorghum, barley, and rice) and one type of “others” (all remaining crop types excluding idle/fallow farm land, and cropland pasture).