Natural Resources
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News, Publications & Announcements - Geo-Information

October 2003
Guidelines for establishing audits of agricultural – environmental hotspots
Environment and Natural Resources Working Paper No. 15 National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO USA

This paper aims to identify key issues related to the purpose and potential value of developing a sustained activity focused on the identification and monitoring of potentially adverse impacts and the responses that might result from interactions between agricultural activities and environmental processes. Where the adverse impacts of such interactions have reached levels detrimental to sustained human activities or to environmental processes, the term "hotspots" is used. The concept of "foreseeability" is introduced and applied to agriculture-environment interactions.

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August 2003
Groundwater search by remote sensing: A methodological approach

In the framework of the technical assistance provided to the Groundwater Unit (GWU) of the FAO-implemented IRAQ/SCR/986 "Three-year Agricultural Programme" for the three Iraqi Northern Governorates, a comprehensive remote sensing/GIS methodology was developed to identify potential sites for groundwater exploitation. The approach used in the study was a development of the traditional standard sequence of drainage, landforms, cover and lineaments analyses, to which several improvements and additions were made, such as: - all data were in digital format and stored in a geo-database as GIS layers; - all analyses and interpretations were performed directly from the computer screen; - on the basis of a previous positive experience, thermal lineaments analysis was performed; - a comprehensive geo-database was created including all GIS layers which were considered of interest for the study; - by harnessing the potential of GIS software, which allows stacking of georeferenced data for comparison and integration and data query for subsetting the needed information, selected layers of the database were superimposed on the Landsat image kept as background and a logical series of observations was made, leading to a well-substantiated set of interpretation assumptions.

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August 2003
Terrestrial Carbon Observation No. 2 - The Ottawa Assessment of Requirements, Status and Next Steps
Environment and Natural Resources Series Number 2

In November 1999 the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnerships (IGOS-P) requested the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), to develop the terrestrial component of a global carbon theme. This report presents the results of a follow-up Terrestrial Carbon Observation (TCO) Synthesis Workshop, organized by GTOS in collaboration with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and other IGOS-P members on 8-11 February 2000 in Ottawa, Canada. The workshop was designed to summarise existing information and observation requirements regarding terrestrial carbon, conduct initial evaluation of existing data or observations in relation to the requirements, identify major gaps or deficiencies, and propose solutions. Existing stated requirements for terrestrial carbon information were reviewed in several areas, including international conventions, scientific understanding of the global carbon cycle and assessments of their evolution (current and into the future), and land management. Based on these, the needed observations were analysed with a view to satisfy a 'dual constraint' methodology for estimating terrestrial carbon fluxes, based respectively on a) local ecosystem models scaled up with satellite data, and b) atmospheric model inversions using concentration measurements of atmospheric CO2 and other tracer gases. The workshop also discussed existing observations, gaps, and needed improvements. To meet TCO needs, the concept of an observing system ...

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June 2003
The Rio de Janeiro Recommendations for Terrestrial and Atmospheric Measurements
Terrestrial Carbon Observation - No. 5

This report is a comprehensive plan to use in situ and satellite observing systems to assess and monitor carbon stocks on land an in the atmosphere. The plan was endorsed by the major earth observing agencies and the in situ observing systems at the sixth meeting of the Integrated Global Observing System Partners. It lays out the way forward for countries to systematically measure and monitor the amounts of carbon in their forests, crops, rangelands, soil and atmosphere. Why is carbon important? One could make many arguments in favour of its relevance to science, policy and sustainable development. However, in the view of FAO, foremost among these is the important role that carbon plays in sustaining agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and forest ecosystem processes. It is one of the essential ingredients to producing sufficient food, fodder, and forest products that are so important to the economies of lower income countries.

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June 2003
Twenty one years of satellite derived vegetation index and rainfall-related data for Africa

In May 2002, the above authors introduced a new tool to graphically analyse the large collection of satellite derived information held by the ARTEMIS system of the FAO Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN). Since 1988, this system routinely processes and disseminates data from a number of satellites for operational use in the field of early warning for food security. Through analysis of this data, the status of the growing season over Africa can be closely monitored and an early warning given of possible crop failures. This new tool, the ARTEMIS Charting Applet (ACA), consists of a very small but powerful charting programme written in Java and a file containing the statistics extracted from all the dekadal (a period of ten days) and monthly ARTEMIS imagery for approximately 400 zones of Africa. The programme and the data file are combined in one single web page. After being loaded by the web browser of the user, all the statistical data resides locally and no more interaction with the web-server is required. This makes the creation of charts or graphs very fast and also allows the information to be included in one-way information dissemination initiatives, such as used by RANET. The original ...

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