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About SDRN

The Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN) provides advisory and technical services to promote sustainable agriculture and food security through protection of the environment and integrated management of natural resources. It assists countries in developing environmental policies, strategies, training and information systems and brings together a broad range of technical and policy skills to support member countries.



Agrometeorology (AGROMET) aims at increasing crop yields and reducing their inter-annual variability. Climatic data from 30 000 stations worldwide are inputs for crop monitoring and yield forecasting. Tools such as the AgroMetShell (AMS) assess how extreme geophysical factors affect agriculture production systems. The monitoring of food crop condition and yield forecasting and integration of climatic data with socio-economic variables is undertaken for use by a variety of governmental and non-governmental partners. [more...]


Environmental agreements

International mechanisms have taken on added importance during the past ten years to address environmental problems in a coordinated manner. These include the Convention on Biological Diversity, Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention to CombatDesertification.

SDRN coordinates FAO participation in these agreements and serves as the focal point for the follow-up to international initiatives to promote sustainable development, notably the Agenda 21, World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and UN Programme of Action on Sustainable Development of Small Islands Developing States. [more...]


Early warning

The Advanced Real Time Environmental Monitoring and Information System (ARTEMIS) has been monitoring seasonal growing conditions and vegetation development over Africa since 1988. It is based on data from four satellite platforms, for use in drought and pest early warning systems.

ARTEMIS provides analyses and agrometeorology maps for FAO's Global Information Early Warning System (GIEWS) on Food and Agriculture, a leading source of information on food production and food security for every country in the world. It provides satellite imagery from desert areas in Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia to support FAO’s Desert Locust Information System which monitors and forecasts locust outbreaks. [more...]


Geo-spatial data

FAO-SDRN develops and provides easy access to geo-spatial data and information and facilitates the use of data from ground and satellite observations. It cooperates with national and international programmes such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the UN Geographic Information Working Group.

GeoNetwork aims to improve access and use of geo-spatial information. Access is provided to interactive maps and related information including population density, infrastructure, administrative boundaries, land cover/use, soil crop zones, water, fisheries, forest resources, livestock distribution, nutrition profiles, and early warning information. GeoNetwork users are able to retrieve data located in different locations worldwide and use them on their own computers. [more...]


Information systems and tools

In recent years, SDRN has developed tools that assist Internet and desktop users to manage spatial and environmental data and information. ARTEMIS provides access to the data archives METART of and AGROMET, including low resolution satellite imagery, meteorological data, software tools, as well as methods and techniques used for environmental monitoring, crop forecasting, early warning, and desert locust control. [more...]

FAOCLIM and the new LocClim contain worldwide monthly agroclimatic data for 30 000 stations, for up to 14 observed and computed agroclimatic parameters. It includes both long-term averages (1961-1990) and time series for rainfall and temperatures. The data can be selected by geographic area, time period and parameter (temperature, wind speed, rainfall, etc.) and can be exported for additional processing. [more...]


Land cover

FAO is leading the mapping of land cover which describes forests, agricultural lands, grasslands, and human settlements. It is basic information to ensure the sustainable management of natural resources and environmental protection. National and regional land cover programmes, such as Africover, Asiacover, and the Global Land Cover Network (GLCN) ensure common and comparable land cover databases. [more...]

The Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) is an FAO methodology and tool adopted by countries to ensure that the systems they use to define different types of land cover are comparable and can be used in both small- as well as large-scale mapping exercises. [more...]


Organic agriculture

FAO promotes organic agriculture for ecological conservation, income generation and food production for the world’s poor and food insecure. Organic agriculture is growing rapidly in many countries, and when based on precise standards and practices, organic agriculture promotes sustainable development. SDRN works to strengthen the capacity of FAO member countries to produce, handle, process, inspect, certify and market organic foods and fibres. [more...]


Rural energy

FAO advocates the adoption of diversified and efficient bioenergy from agriculture and forestry instead of traditional fuelwood, animal and human power. A transition from the present systems to more diversified energy structure based on renewable sources is crucial to improving the living conditions of rural communities.

Developing countries are assisted to meet their energy requirements in agriculture, forestry and fisheries and to enhance the role of agriculture and forests as energy producers. Emphasis is given to bioenergy which, as a renewable substitute for fossil fuels, can play an important role both in rural development and in climate change mitigation. [more...]


Terrestrial ecosystems

Large-scale terrestrial data sets needed to understand global environmental change are riddled by gaps, fragmentation and difficult access. The development of an integrated earth observation system is supported through the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) which operates in collaboration with other UN and international science programmes to build common terrestrial datasets aimed at understanding global environmental change. [more...]

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites (TEMS) database is an international directory of sites (ca. 2050) and networks (ca. 50) that carry out long-term terrestrial monitoring and research activities. Based on a core set of 115 variables, the database contains site and network information, qualitative change maps, socio-economic methods, and dedicated modules on biodiversity, coastal ecosystems, forest and water resources. [more...]

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