Aquaculture contributes substantially to global food and nutrition security, and is projected to expand further in response to demand from an increasingly populous, affluent and urbanizing world. Globally, aquaculture has expanded faster than any other major food production system and about 80% of global aquaculture production takes place in Asia. Despite this, Asian aquaculture is generally assumed to be small scale, but the size and tenure of aquaculture farms is poorly documented, and the factors that drive and mediate aquaculture change are understudied; in particular, there are scarce publicly available data on the boundaries of aquaculture “ponds”, which is the fundamental unit of aquaculture practice. These characteristics have important practical implications for policies affecting land use and aquaculture in key global aquaculture hotspots, as well as for the emergent body of literature on ‘aquarian transition’ that applies an agrarian political economy lens to the spatiality of aquaculture changes.
Four research questions and associated hypotheses will be addressed that seek to understand the drivers and constraints of aquacultural change based on aquaculture ponds extracted from satellite imagery and survey information. The research will be undertaken across Asia in four aquaculture hotspots (i) the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar, (ii) Southwestern and Northern parts of Bangladesh, (iii) the Central Plains around Bangkok in Thailand, and (iv) in Andhra Pradesh Province, India. The hot-spot study areas are at different stages of aquaculture development and are subject to different drivers and constraints. We have collected aquacultural survey data in the Myanmar and Bangladesh study areas quite recently, and in the Thailand study area in 2012. New survey data will be collected in India, and to update the Thailand survey data.
The proposal has four major tasks (1) extract aquaculture ponds with delineated boundaries annually in 2015-2024 from Sentinel-2 10 m images in Myanmar, Thailand and India, and from commercial high-resolution satellite images in Bangladesh where the ponds are particularly small, (2) generate spatially-explicit maps to characterize aquaculture and change for 2015-2024, (3) collect and compile existing and new aquaculture survey data, including conducting new surveys in Thailand and India with collaborators, (4) undertake inductive and deductive analyses to address the research questions and associated hypotheses on drivers and constraints of aquaculture changes, and characterize the typology of aquaculture spatio-temporal development in South and Southeast Asia.
The proposal is responsive to “Land-Cover/Land-Use Change Hotspots” and in particular to the thematic area of “land use change in wetlands (e.g., for urbanization, *aquaculture* or recreation)”. The team are all from Michigan State University. Drs. Yan and the Roy have experience in satellite crop-field and aquaculture-pond extraction and validation. Dr. Belton is based in Malaysia, has worked extensively in Asia for more than a decade, and is a rural sociologist specializing in Asian aquaculture.
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