Big data in resilience of rangeland communities
Nearly half of the Earth’s land surface is classified as rangeland, and the health and productivity of this land are directly critical to the livelihoods, cultures and resilience to shocks and stresses of more than 500 million people around the world. Such systems are critical for achieving food and water security as well as resilient local and national economies, and for improving environmental conditions such as carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
But despite the recognized importance of rangelands, there are significant gaps and inconsistencies in data on distribution, status, risks, changes taking place and opportunities for restoration or building resilience of communities that depend on them. Monitoring is done using a number of different tools and processes and often occurs at a local level, with no global storage of data. There is a lack of agreement in the rangeland communities including on terminology, indicators and frameworks for monitoring rangelands, resulting in confusion and inconsistency. This has led to poor and badly planned investments, particularly in pastoralist areas, which in many cases has damaged rather than strengthened their resilience.
This project aims to establish the first-ever global data platform, which will consolidate data on rangelands, including rangelands health, change, risks and opportunities for restoration from existing sources as well as from new sources such as satellite imagery and crowd-sourcing.
The platform will be user friendly and targeted at development agencies, governments, researchers, commercial companies, conservation organizations, pastoralist networks and other. It will also serve global initiatives such as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.
The suitability of the platform and data system will be tested out in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan in terms of its applicability to national and local contexts.
Ultimately, the platform will guide improved, better-planned, investments in rangelands thereby building the resilience of local communities to respond to and deal with stresses and shocks.
The Inspire Challenge is an initiative to challenge partners, universities, and others to use CGIAR data to create innovative pilot projects that will scale. We look for novel approaches that democratize data-driven insights to inform local, national, regional, and global policies and applications in agriculture and food security in real time; helping people–especially smallholder farmers and producers–to lead happier and healthier lives.