A Review of the Available Land Cover and Cropland Maps for South Asia

A lack of accuracy, uniqueness and the absence of systematic classification of cropland categories, together with long-pending updates of cropland mapping, are the primary challenges that need to be addressed in developing high-resolution cropland maps for south Asia. In this review, we analyzed the details of the available land cover and cropland maps of south Asia on national and regional scales in south Asia and on a global scale. Here, we highlighted the methodology adopted for classification, datasets used, classification system used for classifying different land covers and croplands and the resolution of datasets available. This listed review of different available datasets can help the reader to know which datasets to be used in their study and to understand which methodology to be chosen to further developing the accurate high-resolution land cover and cropland maps for advanced studies and for better understanding of ground reality in a timely updated version. We tried to identify the major concerns, particularly the inadequacy of knowledge regarding the spatial distribution of major crop types within south Asia, which hinder policy and strategic investment and delay the efforts to improve food security for a rapidly growing human population at a time of constant market instability and changing global climate. The overall focus of this paper is on reviewing the need for timely updated high-resolution cropland maps of south Asia.