Monitoring the world's agriculture

An article in the journal 'Nature'

To feed the world without further damaging the planet, Jeffrey Sachs and 24 food-system experts call for a global data collection and dissemination network to track the myriad impacts of different farming practices.

Dr. Andelman, Vice President for the TEAM Network at Conservation International, explains: “We need quantitative data on the production and value of key services people get from ecosystems, like providing the water for crops, fuel wood, the quality of soil and on pollinators. We also need to understand how the global climate is changing and the implications of these changes for agricultural and natural systems.  These integrated data are critical to prevent informational tunnel vision, and its associated consequences which could include ecosystem and societal collapse.”

Summary

  • Agriculture is assessed at different scales, using inconsistent methods and narrow criteria
  • A common set of metrics must be collected at comparable scales
  • The resultant, freely available data should inform farming practices worldwide

LEARN MORE: "Monitoring the World's Agriculture" in Nature, July 2010

Nature 466, 558-560 (29 July 2010) | doi:10.1038/466558a; Published online 28 July 2010

Other Media

  Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network   Climate; Agriculture; Ecosystem Services