A geospatial meta-analysis of global crop water productivity of three leading world crops (wheat, corn, rice) over three decades

Authors: Daniel Foley*, Northern Arizona University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Crop Water Productivity, Remote sensing, GIS, Global Croplands, Food and Water Security
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Crop water productivity (CWP) is a ratio of crop output over water input for a given area used to measure how productive an agricultural growing site is relative to water used to produce an amount of crop expressed in units of kg\m^3. The purpose of this research was to perform a comprehensive geospatial meta-analysis of irrigated agricultural CWP of the world’s three leading crops: wheat, corn, and rice based on over three decade-long remote sensing and non-remote sensing-based studies. Together, these three crops occupy 31.9% (569,291,021 hectares) of the total global cropland area of 1.873 billion hectares. Overall, data from several benchmark areas were gathered from study sites spread across the world based on published peer-reviewed articles. Methods include GIS mapping of crop growing regions noting geospatial relationships to global climate, latitude, soil type and combinations of these variables, statistical analysis, and developing a method utilizing CWP to determine the quantum of water that can be saved from each crop, in each study country by increasing CWP. This study established significant differences in CWP for each of the crops. Overall conclusions reveal there is a very high scope for increasing or maintaining crop yields while reducing water use of wheat, corn, and rice in most countries of the world. Based on data in this study, the highest consumers of water for crop production also have the most potential for water savings providing insight on food and water security in the 21st century.

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