Automatic determination of grassland use intensities by means of satellite image time series


Satelliteimages of Brunswick (c) ESA Copernicus Open Access Hub:
Satelliteimages of Brunswick: Sentinel-2 Natural-Color Composite (left) and Sentinel-1 False-Color Composite (right). (© ESA Copernicus Open Access Hub:

Assessing the potentials of remote sensing data in the fields of land use, agricultural economics and biodiversity

Nationwide information on grassland use intensity is still unknown in Germany. Remote sensing data can help to close this knowledge gap in the future…

Background and Objective

The high spatial and temporal resolution of the Sentinel satellites (one image taken every 2 to 3 days) of the European Copernicus Earth Observation Programme makes it possible to acquire information on land use with high spatial and temporal resolution. Based on the remote sensing data, the intensity of use of permanent grassland is to be determined nationwide throughout Germany.

This comprehensive information is an important basis for the assessment of grassland, in particular with regard to the provision of feedstuffs and questions of nature and resource conservation. On the basis of the targeted data set, it is possible, for example, to estimate the extent of the potential of individual areas and regions and, in particular, to improve policy impact assessments for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The following objectives are to be achieved:

  1. development of methods for the automatic determination of usage intensities in permanent pastureland from sentinel remote sensing data
  2. Germany-wide mapping and provision of current spatial information on the intensity of use of permanent pastureland in Germany


The following steps will be carried out in this project:

  • Creation of a database for validation data,
  • merge different data types and develop indicators to describe the intensity of use in grassland
  • Development of a method for determining the usage intensity of permanent grassland Germany-wide
  • Transfer of the method
  • Validation of the methods based on the established database

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Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners


7.2017 - 6.2021

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

hits: 3

  1. Holtgrave A-K, Röder N, Ackermann A, Erasmi S, Kleinschmit B (2020) Comparing Sentinel-1 and -2 data and indices for agricultural land use monitoring. Remote Sensing 12:2919, DOI:10.3390/rs12182919
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 5639 kb
  2. Holtgrave A-K, Ackermann A, Röder N, Kleinschmit B (2020) Towards a dual-polarisation radar vegetation index for Sentinel-1 for grassland monitoring. Grassl Sci Europe 25:596-598
  3. Holtgrave A-K, Röder N, Kleinschmit B (2019) Detecting grassland management strategies with sentinel-1 and fuzzy data in different regions of Germany. In: Living Planet Symposium, Milan (Italy), May 13-17 2019.