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Agriculture: Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification

Food supplies depend on many environmental parameters, including weather and climate, freshwater supplies, soil conditions, and other variables. Thus, successful agriculture meeting the demands of an increasing population depends on comprehensive environmental information.

At the same time, agriculture has a major impact on the environment. Unless managed sustainably, agricultural entities can cause erosion, desertification, pollution and water shortages. Fishing can deplete fish stocks and aquacultures can damage coastal ecosystems. These impacts need to be monitored and the risks need to be managed.

The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is being built by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to support farmers, fishers and policymakers in maximizing productivity and food security while preserving ecosystems and biodiversity. Data provided by GEOSS can be used in models for simulating and predicting agricultural trends. Related activities include mapping the changing distribution of croplands around the world, advancing the accuracy of measurements of biomass (the total amount of living material in a given habitat or population), reporting agricultural statistics in a more timely manner, and improving forecasts of shortfalls in crop production and food supplies.

Examples in the Agriculture SBA:

  • The Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) as a first step towards a Global Soil Information System: Introduction. Get the flyer. Download slideshow as ppt or pdf.
  • Geo-wiki.org - Crowdsourcing to improve Landcover Validation: Introduction. Get the flyer. Download slideshow as ppt.

Last edited 02 December 2016

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