Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

Land evaluation and Suitability 

The Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology is based on the principles of land evaluation (FAO, 1976), and it serves as a framework supporting sustainable agricultural development by delineating various agricultural land utilization possibilities. Developed through the collaborative efforts of FAO and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) over several decades, this model identifies constraints and advantages in agricultural areas based on plant eco-physiological traits and the specific climatic and soil requirements of crops. It utilizes this information to assess the suitability and production potentials of different crop types under defined input and management conditions.

By understanding and managing the limitations posed by agro-ecological factors and identifying the most viable crop choices, informed planning decisions can be made. These decisions not only enhance productivity but also foster sustainability and resilience in the face of climatic fluctuations. The AEZ framework significantly contributes to various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by offering insights into existing and future agricultural production risks, irrigation water needs, and potential crop development and adaptation strategies. 


The Global Agro-Ecological Zones version 4 (GAEZ v4) is the most ambitious global assessment to date and the Data Portal, developed to make the database widely and easily accessible for users, comprises a large volume of spatial natural resources indicators and results of agro-ecological crop analysis.