GROUP: annual crops (ac)
DEFINITION: annual & herbaceous crops. Includes herbaceous perennials with stem diameter < 5 cm when mature. Area must be planted to at least one crop every three years. Must identify USE = Rainfed OR Irrigated , depending on the feature.

Table of Contents


  1. Object
    1. intensive annual vegetable crops & horticulture plots = Intensive crops are planted in entire field ALL growing seasons of the year: no season with a non-intensive crop. However, if an intensive crop plot is fallow one or more growing seasons of the year, but intensive the rest of the year, the classification remains intensive crops. Includes intensively grown herbaceous perennial crops with stem diameters <5 cm when mature, such as strawberry (Fragaria ananassa), asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), pepper (Piper nigrum), vanilla (Vanilla aromatica), artichoke (Cynara scolymus) and others.
    2. non-intensive annual crops (grains & staples) = At least one growing season with cover by non-intensive crops (grains and staples such as potato, peanut, etc.). Part of the year, the field may be covered by intensive crops. Example: winter wheat (non-intensive) is usually grown over most of the area in the winter, even if intensive vegetables are grown in the summer. Example crops: Wheat (Triticum aestivum), Maize (Zea mays), Cotton (Gossypium sp.), many others.
  2. Scale
    1. small (<30m) areal
    2. medium-scale (>30m to 1ha)
    3. large-scale (>1 ha)


  1. intensive annual vegetable crops & horticulture plots
    1. small (<30m) areal = ac01
    2. medium-scale (>30m to 1ha) = ac02
    3. large-scale (>1 ha) = ac03
  2. non-intensive annual crops (grains & staples)
    1. small (<30m) areal = ac04
    2. medium-scale (>30m to 1ha) = ac05
    3. large-scale (>1 ha) = ac06

Dominance Rules

  1. IF it is unclear whether the plot is intensive or non-intensive, CHOOSE non-intensive.
  2. IF only a small (<10m) part of a feature is intensive vs. non-intensive, CHOOSE non-intensive.
  3. IF plots are small (<10m), an intensive crops feature may include small plots (<10m) of non-intensive crops with up to 40% cover of the larger intensive crops feature. If plots are large, they should be mapped separately.
  4. IF unclear whether plots are larger or smaller than the scale limit, always choose the larger scale.


Leaf Type: mixed
Leaf Time: annual
Tree Cover: <<10%
Vegetation Cover: >90%
Height: <3m
IGBP_DIS: Croplands; Cropland/Natural Vegetation Mosaics;
L1 Minimum: >10m
L2 Minimum: >5m

Compatible Classes



Anthropogenic Mounded Excavated Terraced Slope Floodplain Foot Slope Bench Plateau Summit Sloping Steep Slope Seasonal River


Irrigated Rainfed


Annual Mixed


Mapped Ecotopes

ANIAac04 ANRAac01 ANRAac04 BPRAac01 BPRAac04 EXIAac01 FPIAac01 FPIAac02 FPIAac04 FPIAac05 FPRAac01 FPRAac04 FPRAac05 FSIAac01 FSIAac04 FSRAac01 FSRAac04 SLIAac04 SLRAac01 SLRAac02 SLRAac03 SLRAac04 SLRAac05 SLRAac06 SRRAac04 SRRAac05 SSRAac02 SSRAac04 SURAac04 TSRAac04  

Citation for AEM: Ellis E. C., H. Wang, H. Xiao, K. Peng, X. P. Liu, S. C. Li, H. Ouyang, X. Cheng, and L. Z. Yang. 2006. Measuring long-term ecological changes in densely populated landscapes using current and historical high resolution imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment 100(4):457-473.