Información geoespacial para lograr sistemas alimentarios sostenibles

Modernizing Global Agro-Ecological Zoning with new methods

A virtual consultation on the update of the methodology for the new Global Agro-Ecological Zoning was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in collaboration with the Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), on 24th of March 2022.

The Global Agro-Ecological Zoning version 4 (GAEZ v4), launched in June 2021, uses well-established land evaluation principles to assess natural resources for finding suitable agricultural land utilization options. It is based on agro-climatic assessments, crop modelling, natural and human resources, crop statistics and water use at global scale. With the increasing complexity and intensity of environmental and social challenges, there is need for new innovations, updated datasets and an improved understanding of the biophysical determinants for agricultural management decisions including physical drivers of climate change. 

Following the Global Agro-Ecological Zoning version 4 (GAEZ v4), FAO and IIASA in collaboration with ESRI and AIT are working towards developing the new GAEZ version 5. The main focus for GAEZ v5 will be more on 1) fostering partnerships, collaborations and investments for sustainable and resilient landscapes and livelihoods, 2) improving data collection, quality and exchange based on the latest ICT, GIS/RS, AI/ML technological innovations, 3) enhancing inclusive and gender-responsive technical capacity with strong engagement from the youth and 4) improving efficient development and use of AEZ for land management (in-country). To this end, GAEZ v5 aims at providing dynamically updated AEZ information, to meet local to global level AEZ users’ needs.

To refine the overall GAEZ assessment, an initial consultation on identifying global dataset for GAEZ v5 was organized in December 2021 (link). This second consultation held on 24th March 2022 discussed about the identification of methodological refinements and extensions to be addressed in the new GAEZ v5.

“Methodology improvements and extensions include developing a close link with water resources modelling and agro-edaphic evaluation, while strengthening capacities in AEZ to assess alternative ecosystem functions”, said Mr. Gunther Fischer (Senior Researcher, IIASA).

The participants contributed to the design of the new platform under four main areas: crops, water, soil and ecosystem functions. During the group discussion, ideas and priorities for methodological updates were formulated. Additional recommendations for updates, refinements and extensions of approaches and modules are listed in the Appendix 1-1 (“Recommendations for further GAEZ development”) of the GAEZ v4 Model Documentation.