Global LandScapes: RFS-IIASA Rapid Spatial Analysis

The Global LandScapes project is funded by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the US and has the overall objective of developing a joint methodology and database to compute a map of global foodscapes and their development potential in view of planning for large-scale deployment of Nature based solutions (NBS).

© Martin Jung

© Martin Jung

Managing food production land- and seascapes has been identified as one of the single most important means to maintain natural resources fundamental to functioning human societies. Depending on how food production is managed, it can either be a key driver of environmental degradation or an opportunity for environmental restoration. Thus, the potential to restore ecosystems and achieve biodiversity conservation goals through Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in landscapes crucially depends on improved management of these production systems.

There is a need to build understanding and tools that help maximize desirable sustainability outcomes by restoring ecosystems and building up natural capital. Ensuring more abundant flows of ecosystem services from our planet’s land- and seascapes will contribute to improved human well-being and will be necessary for the functioning of human societies. A global mapping analysis to identify the potential of agricultural and ocean food production systems to contribute to the roll-out of integrated landscape scale NBS is still not in existence. It appears that such a mapping of food production systems operating within larger land- and seascapes will be indispensable for planning to achieve multiple environmental and social development goals. A global tool will also be necessary to support coordination mechanisms of activities within land- /seascapes to finally achieve multiple global goals jointly. TNC operates already in concrete food production landscapes and works on systemic approaches to help transform these landscapes towards enhanced sustainability outcomes. Global models typically lack knowledge from the successes and perils of landscape-level processes and could therefore be improved to better inform large-scale programs and policies.

The goal of this project is to produce a globally applicable typology of foodscapes that will support improved planning for the implementation of landscape-level NBS programs, and to use that as a basis to assess the potential of NBS interventions in those foodscapes to generate positive outcomes for productivity, biodiversity, water, and climate. The concept of foodscapes carries the potential to become the definition of planning units that allow for global areal prioritization of conservation and restoration activities and subsequently a puzzle piece for developing even larger scaling strategies aiming to achieve coordinated global outcomes.


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Last edited: 01 April 2021

CONTACT DETAILS

Michael Obersteiner

Senior Research Scholar

Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group|Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 460

Martin Jung

Research Scholar

Biodiversity

Ecology

and Conservation Research Group|Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 316

Christian Folberth

Research Scholar

Agriculture

Forestry

and Ecosystem Services Research Group|Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 451

Nikolay Khabarov

Research Scholar

Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group|Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 346

Timeframe

December 2020 - November 2021

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313