SIGMA (BO-31.03-007-003)

Project: EZproject

Project Details


SIGMA’s main challenge is to develop innovative methods and indicators to monitor and assess progress towards “sustainable agriculture”, focussed on the assessment of longer term impact of agricultural dynamics on the environment and vice versa, in support of GEOGLAM. Sustainable agricultural growth is a critical component in efforts to meet the demands and challenges faced by agriculture worldwide and discover new opportunities for poverty reduction in the developing and transitional world. Agriculture’s capacity to feed the world is being threatened by a combination of existing and emerging trends and challengeseven as global hunger and malnutrition remain pervasive. Global population has grown from about 2.5 billion in 1950 to more than 7 billion in 2012 and is projected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. To achieve food for all global food production will need to grow by 70% and up to 100% in developing countries, according to FAO. As a result human activity and impacton the Earth’s natural resources will further increase and continue to lead to sometimes fierce competition for land and natural resources. Expansion of urban centres, intensification of agriculture, unsustainable land practices, and deforestation among others, may lead to short term gains but probably they will have severe effects on the longer term. Global reconnaissance to move towards a sustainable economy with a well-balanced use of resources becomes more prominent and world-wide leaders, action groups, individuals, research institutes, the private sector convene to actively seek innovative solutions to ensure quality of life for humanity, now and in the future. The Earth Observation Community has been particularly active on this. As such, and given the priorities of the call, the research will be focused on indicators which can be addressed through the combination of remote sensing and in situ observations, and which can actively contribute to a “global” agricultural monitoring system in particular in relation to:

  • Agricultural Expansion, with an assessment of crop land dynamics, and how this affects natural vegetation, conservation areas, forests, GHG emissions, ecosystem services and biodiversity in general.
  • Agricultural Intensification: with an assessment of potential and actual shifts in cultivation practises, such as single versus double or even mixed cropping systems, rain fed versus irrigated systems, crop diversification and intensification, and their possible environmental consequences in terms of soil fertility, erosion, water use efficiency, pollution and land degradation.
Effective start/end date1/01/1531/12/17


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