New report: ecosystem monitoring critical to solve global hunger crisis

rice farmer in Madagascar

How can we solve the global hunger crisis? In a new report that appeared this week in the science journal Nature, renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, CI’s Sandy Andelman and 23 other food security experts asserted the need for a global data collection network that tracks the impacts of different agricultural practices on the environment.

“We need quantitative data on the production and value of key services people get from ecosystems, like providing the water for crops, fuel wood, the quality of soil and on pollinators,” says Dr. Andelman, the vice president for the Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring (TEAM) Network at CI.

“We also need to understand how the global climate is changing and the implications of these changes for agricultural and natural systems. These integrated data are critical to prevent informational tunnel vision, and its associated consequences which could include ecosystem and societal collapse.”

A partnership between CI, the Smithsonian Institution, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the TEAM Network is already working to integrate the value of ecosystems into agricultural decision-making at 16 sites across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Using standardized methods, TEAM collects multi-scale data at project sites and distributes the information for free, expanding farmers’ knowledge and helping them adopt more responsible practices worldwide.

Learn more: “Monitoring the World’s Agriculture” in Nature, July 2010

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