Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 166, Issue 1–4, pp 113–124 | Cite as

Land cover mapping of the tropical savanna region in Brazil

  • Edson E. Sano
  • Roberto Rosa
  • Jorge L. S. Brito
  • Laerte G. Ferreira


The Brazilian tropical savanna (Cerrado), encompassing more than 204 million hectares in the central part of the country, is the second richest biome in Brazil in terms of biodiversity and presents high land use pressure. The objective of this study was to map the land cover of the Cerrado biome based on the segmentation and visual interpretation of 170 Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus satellite scenes acquired in 2002. The following land cover classes were discriminated: grasslands, shrublands, forestlands, croplands, pasturelands, reforestations, urban areas, and mining areas. The results showed that the remnant natural vegetation is still covering about 61% of the biome, however, on a highly asymmetrical basis. While natural physiognomies comprise 90% of the northern part of the biome, only 15% are left in its southern portions. Shrublands were the dominant natural land cover class, while pasturelands were the dominant land use class in the Cerrado biome. The final Cerrado’s land cover map confirmed the intensive land use pressure in this unique biome. This paper also showed that Landsat-like sensors can provide feasible land cover maps of Cerrado, although ancillary data are required to help image interpretation.


Land use Land cover mapping Brazilian savanna Cerrado 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edson E. Sano
    • 1
  • Roberto Rosa
    • 2
  • Jorge L. S. Brito
    • 2
  • Laerte G. Ferreira
    • 3
  1. 1.Embrapa CerradosPlanaltinaBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal de GoiasGoiâniaBrazil

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