Multi-temporal Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data was used to estimate the spatial distribution of heading date and rice-cropping system employed in the Mekong Delta relative to seasonal changes in water resources in 2002 and 2003. We improved a Wavelet-based Filter for determining Crop Phenology (WFCP) and developed a Wavelet-based Filter for evaluating the spatial distribution of Cropping Systems (WFCS) to the interpretation of MODIS time-series data to determine the spatial distribution of rice phenology and various rice-cropping systems from the seasonal Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data. The findings correspond well the physical characteristics of the cropping system in the Mekong Delta, which have changed over time in response to localized and seasonal changes in water resources. One such example is the double-irrigated rice-cropping system commonly employed in the upper Mekong Delta in the dry season to avoid damage due to the subsequent floods. The shortage of suitable irrigation water and intrusion of saline water in the coastal regions during the dry season has constrained the practice dry-season cropping and has meant that the double- and single-rainfed rice-cropping systems are employed in the rainy season. A triple-irrigated rice-cropping system is used in the central part of the Mekong Delta which is located midway between the flood-prone and salinity intrusion areas. Analysis of annual changes in the rice cropping systems between 2002 and 2003 showed that the triple-cropped rice expanded to the flood- and salinity-intrusion areas. This expansion indicates that the implementation of measures to limit the extent of flooding and salinity intrusion by improved farming technologies and improvements in land management. The heading dates in the upper Mekong Delta in 2003 were earlier than in 2002 by approximately 20 to 30 days. The reasons for this would be due to decreased flood runoff in 2002 compared to 2001, and implementation of government policies regarding early sowing of dry-season crops. Subsequent analysis of the MODIS data confirmed that the spatial distribution of rice-cropping systems was closely related to seasonal changes in river runoff regime in the Mekong Delta.
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