Investigators:

David Kneas and Jessie Barnes

Advisor: Michael Dove

Description:

Over the last few decades there has been a significant expansion in the area of cultivated land in the Fayoum, Egypt. With less than 20mm rainfall a year, year-round agriculture within this governorate is reliant on irrigation water which is sourced from the Nile via the Bahr Yusuf canal. The desert reclamation on the outskirts of the governorate and consequent diversion of water to that land has had a profound impact on the distribution of water and different farmers' access to that water. Thus agricultural land expansion is a critical political topic and the figures for the cultivated area are hotly contested by various actors.

The aim of this research is to quantify how much agricultural expansion there has been in the Fayoum and to analyze where that expansion has taken place. The change analysis will utilize Landsat images from 1972, 1984 and 2001 (sourced from the Global Land Cover Facility). Following these initial inquiries, more research may be carried out into changes in summer and winter cropping, temporal and spatial changes in the types of crops being grown (in particular, the shift to rice cultivation) and head-tail dynamics in cultivation along individual canals.