Natural Resources
     and Environment

News, Publications & Announcements - Geo-Information

February 2002
Assessment of priority areas for trypanosomiasis control actions by satellite data and fuzzy logic: Pilot study in Togo
Remote sensing for decision makers series. N.20

This series, produced by the FAO Environment and Natural Resources Service, is intended for decision-makers such as heads and division directors of national and international organizations and administrations, as well as project managers, planners and policy-makers of development institutions. This series aims to present new possibilities for the use of remote sensing and geographic information system techniques. This issue addresses the control of vector-borne diseases and the management of rangeland resources.

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February 2002
Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites (TEMS)

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites (TEMS) database has been updated with new user features and content about environmental monitoring sites located around the world. TEMS is an international directory of sites (T.Sites) and networks that carry out long-term terrestrial monitoring and research activities. Based on a core list of 120 variables, the database provides information on the "who, what and where" that can be used by both the scientific community and policy analysts. A new version of TEMS has been developed and released on the web by the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) with scientific and technical support from the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC) and FAO. This version of TEMS contains many new features including simple and advanced searches, browsing trees facilities (by environmental variables, networks, or T.Sites), maps, improved and revised environmental variable sheets, socio-economic data, and automated on line registry and editing of T.Sites. The information on sites has been or is being updated and new sites are being added to the database. A TEMS brochure is now available from the GTOS secretariat (e-mail: The development of a French and Spanish version of TEMS is now being investigated as well as the development of a ...

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June 2001
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg 2002

The Johannesburg summit is a follow-up of the first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Earth Summit represented a turning point in the way we look at environment and development; world leaders adopted Agenda 21, a blue print to attain sustainable development in the 21st century.FAO is task manager for many of the land-related chapters of Agenda 21, chiefly, chapter 10 (Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources), chapter 11 (Combating Deforestation), chapter 13 (Sustainable Mountain Development) and on chapter 14 (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: SARD). It is also a major partner in the implementation of several chapters of Agenda 21, notably, chapters 12 (Combating Desertification and Drought), 15 (Biological Diversity), 17 (Oceans and Seas) 18 (Freshwater) and 19 (Toxic Chemicals). FAO is actively involved in contributing to the Rio+10 process and particularly as regards the preparation of documentation for the intergovernmental process. FAO looks forward to Rio+10 as it will provide a unique opportunity to draw to the attention of world leaders some of the key challenges and opportunities the global community faces in the implementation of various chapters of Agenda 21 for which it is a leader and major partner. We trust the ...

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Geo-Information  -Climate Change  -Genetic Resources & Biodiversity  
February 2001
LCCS: Land cover classification system

Despite the high demand of natural resources information, many existing maps/digital databases are not developed to really meet multi-user requirements. One of the basic causes (generally underestimated) of such situation is the type of classification/legend used to describe basic information such as land cover and/or land use: many of these classifications/legends are generally not comparable one to another and very often single project oriented. Although there are many classification systems in existence throughout the world, there is no single internationally accepted land cover classification system. Analysis of the physical and human resources information in many countries has revealed the following difficulties: basic information on environment and natural resources are often limited in extent; the quality of existing information is extremely variable and the way it is presented is often not optimal to support decision-making; topographical maps and thematic maps, when available, are heterogeneous; the information provided by the various institutions are often duplicated or inconsistent within the same country; it is extremely difficult to integrate or compare the existing information made available by departments and organizations.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  -Geo-Information  
October 2000
Solar photovoltaics for sustainable agriculture and rural development by B. van Campen, D. Guidi and G. Best
Environment and Natural Resources Working Paper No. 2

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have shown their potential in rural electrification projects around the world, especially concerning Solar Home Systems. With continuing price decreases of PV systems, other applications are becoming economically attractive and growing experience is gained with the use of PV in such areas as social and communal services, agriculture and other productive activities, which can have a significant impact on rural development. There is still a lack of information, however, on the potential and limitations of such PV applications. The main aim of this study is, therefore, to contribute to a better understanding of the potential impact and of the limitations of PV systems on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD), especially concerning income-generating activities. It is, in fact, of paramount importance to identify the potential contribution of PV to rural development in order to gain further financial and political commitment for PV projects and programmes and to design appropriate PV projects. One of the main lessons learnt through this study is that success of PV programmes is significantly enhanced when an integrated strategy is followed. Solar photovoltaic systems, through their flexibility in use, offer unique chances for the energy sector to provide "packages" of energy services ...

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