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Review of Remote Sensing Methods to Map Coffee Production Systems

Author: Forrest Follett

The coffee sector is working towards sector-wide commitments for sustainable production. Yet, knowledge of where coffee is cultivated and its environmental impact remains limited, in part due to the challenges of mapping coffee using satellite remote sensing. We recognize the urgency to capitalize on recent technological advances to improve remote sensing methods and generate more accurate, reliable, and scalable approaches to coffee mapping. In this study, we provide a systematic review of satellite-based approaches to mapping coffee extent, which produced 43 articles in the peer-reviewed and gray literature. We outline key considerations for employing effective approaches, focused on the need to balance data affordability and quality, classification complexity and accuracy, and generalizability and site-specificity. We discuss research opportunities for improved approaches by leveraging the recent expansion of diverse satellite sensors and constellations, optical/Synthetic Aperture Radar data fusion approaches, and advances in cloud computing and deep learning algorithms. We highlight the need for differentiating between production systems and the need for research in important coffee-growing geographies. By reviewing the range of techniques successfully used to map coffee extent, we provide technical recommendations and future directions to enable accurate and scalable coffee maps.