Greening is a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidy that ensures that all EU farmers receiving income support produce climate and environmental benefits as part of their farming activities. To receive greening support, it is mandatory for the farmer to carry out three agricultural practices that are considered environmentally and climate friendly: (a) crop diversification; (b) maintenance of permanent meadows and pastures; and (c) presence of an Ecological Focus Area (EFA). Contributions are delivered and monitored by paying agencies (PP) that ordinarily perform administrative checks and spot checks. The latter are provided through photo-interpretation of high-resolution satellite or aerial images and, in specific cases, through local ground checks (GC) as well. In this work, stimulated by the Piemonte Regional Agency for Payments in Agriculture (ARPEA), a prototype service to support PPs’ controls within the greening CAP framework was proposed with special concern for EFA detection. The proposed approach is expected to represent a valid alternative or supporting tool for GC. It relies on the analysis of NDVI time series derived from Copernicus Sentinel-2 data. The study was conducted in the provinces of Turin, Asti and Vercelli within the Piedmont Region (NW Italy), and over 12,500 EFA fields were assessed. Since the recent National Report No. 5465 stipulates that mowing and any other soil management operation is prohibited on set-aside land designated as an EFA during the reference period (RP) between 1st March and 30th June, a time series (TS) of NDVI in the same period was generated. Once averaged at plot level, NDVI trends were modelled by a first-order polynomial, and the correspondent statistics (namely, R2, MAE and maximum residual) was computed. These were assumed to play the role of discriminants in EFA detection based on a thresholding approach (Otsu’s method), calibrated with reference to the training dataset. The threshold satisfaction was therefore tested, and, depending on the number of satisfied thresholds out of the possible three, EFA and non-EFA plots were detected with a different degree of reliability. The correspondent EFA map was generated for the area of interest and validated according to GCs as provided by the ARPEA. The results showed an overall accuracy of 84%, indicating that the approach is promising. The authors retain that this procedure represents a valid alternative (or integrating) tool for ground controls by PPs.

Mapping Ecological Focus Areas within the EU CAP Controls Framework by Copernicus Sentinel-2 Data

Sarvia F.;De Petris S.;Borgogno-Mondino E.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Greening is a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidy that ensures that all EU farmers receiving income support produce climate and environmental benefits as part of their farming activities. To receive greening support, it is mandatory for the farmer to carry out three agricultural practices that are considered environmentally and climate friendly: (a) crop diversification; (b) maintenance of permanent meadows and pastures; and (c) presence of an Ecological Focus Area (EFA). Contributions are delivered and monitored by paying agencies (PP) that ordinarily perform administrative checks and spot checks. The latter are provided through photo-interpretation of high-resolution satellite or aerial images and, in specific cases, through local ground checks (GC) as well. In this work, stimulated by the Piemonte Regional Agency for Payments in Agriculture (ARPEA), a prototype service to support PPs’ controls within the greening CAP framework was proposed with special concern for EFA detection. The proposed approach is expected to represent a valid alternative or supporting tool for GC. It relies on the analysis of NDVI time series derived from Copernicus Sentinel-2 data. The study was conducted in the provinces of Turin, Asti and Vercelli within the Piedmont Region (NW Italy), and over 12,500 EFA fields were assessed. Since the recent National Report No. 5465 stipulates that mowing and any other soil management operation is prohibited on set-aside land designated as an EFA during the reference period (RP) between 1st March and 30th June, a time series (TS) of NDVI in the same period was generated. Once averaged at plot level, NDVI trends were modelled by a first-order polynomial, and the correspondent statistics (namely, R2, MAE and maximum residual) was computed. These were assumed to play the role of discriminants in EFA detection based on a thresholding approach (Otsu’s method), calibrated with reference to the training dataset. The threshold satisfaction was therefore tested, and, depending on the number of satisfied thresholds out of the possible three, EFA and non-EFA plots were detected with a different degree of reliability. The correspondent EFA map was generated for the area of interest and validated according to GCs as provided by the ARPEA. The results showed an overall accuracy of 84%, indicating that the approach is promising. The authors retain that this procedure represents a valid alternative (or integrating) tool for ground controls by PPs.
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https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/12/2/406/pdf
CAP controls; Controls in agriculture; Ecological Focus Area detection; NDVI time series assessment; Sentinel-2 prototype service
Sarvia F.; De Petris S.; Borgogno-Mondino E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1850058
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