2020 Winner

Building resilience in rangeland communities with big data

Kenya, Kyrgyzstan

This project will establish the first-ever global data platform for monitoring rangelands and consolidating rangeland data, including ecosystem health, change, risks, and restoration opportunities. The project will provide valuable information to local policy-makers, as well as global initiatives such as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

More about the project

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. Rangeland ecosystems are critical for achieving food and water security, as well as resilient local and national economies, and for improving environmental conditions.

However, there are significant data gaps and inconsistencies on the distribution, status, risks, changes, and opportunities for restoring or building resilience in rangeland communities. Rangeland monitoring often occurs at the local level, using various terminology, tools, indicators, and frameworks, and without global storage of data. This has led to poorly planned investments, particularly in pastoralist areas, which, in many cases, has damaged rather than strengthened the resilience of communities.

The project’s rangeland data system and platform, which will be piloted in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, consolidates information from both new and existing sources. It aims to guide improved investments in rangelands, thereby building the resilience of local communities to respond to and deal with stresses and shocks.

This Inspire Challenge proposal was selected as a 2020 pilot project winner, receiving a total of US$ 100,000 to put their ideas into practice. Learn more about the Inspire Challenge Grant here.


International Livestock Research Institute
Fiona Flintan | Email
Yasin Getahun

Carlos Doménech | Email

World Agroforestry Centre
Leigh Ann Winowiecki

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
Mounir Louhaichi

Step by step




MARCH 2021

Review of existing rangeland data sets and platforms

The team conducted an assessment of existing data platforms and data sets on rangelands to review their features and identify the needs and opportunities for the new, global platform.


APRIL 2021

Assessment of features and structures for the new data platform

The team is consulting key development partners in order to gain insight on how the new platform should be structured and the needs it should address.

MAY 2021

Launch of Big Rangelands Atlas

The Big Rangeland Atlas was launched—a series of rangelands maps (around 14 initially), data, and figures drawn from existing global data sets, accompanied by on-the-ground case studies. The team is working in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the International Land Coalition to produce the Big Rangeland Atlas.

Read the press release here.


JULY 2021

Finalization of data platform

The team will complete the outline of the new rangelands data platform.


AUG 2021

Platform functionality testing with data from Kenya and Kyrgyzstan

The team will complete a review of data and maps from Kyrgyzstan and Kenya in order to identify how the new platform can appropriately and effectively interface with national data sets including terminologies, tools, indicators, and frameworks, using these two countries as examples.

SEPT 2021

Refinement of data platform

Based on the review of linkages between the proposed data platform and the two country case studies, the data platform will be revised and refined.



OCT 2020

Project awarded US$100K Inspire Challenge grant

The project was one of seven winners of the Inspire Challenge 2020 and was awarded US$100K at the fourth annual convention of the CGIAR Platform Big Data in Agriculture, 19-23 October 2020.

Gender & Youth Inclusion

  • In the data platform creation phase, the team will prioritize the use of existing datasets and systems that allow for evaluation of gender differences and dynamics.
  • The data platform will preserve sex-disaggregated data where it exists and make it accessible to users.
  • The team will ensure that gender-disaggregated data is central to the framework and tools it will develop for collecting local, crowd-sourced data on rangelands.
  • As the project is scaled, the team will highlight gaps in gender-sensitive rangeland data, provide guidance on closing data gaps, and eventually incorporate such guidance into its framework and tools for collecting crowd-sourced data on rangelands.


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