Reference Tools: UN Agency (FAO) Launches First-Ever Database on Global Land Use
From the United Nations:
The United Nations agricultural agency [FAO] has launched a new database which gathers under one roof previously scattered information about land cover – how much land is covered by croplands, trees, forests, or bare soils – crucial to establishing a good global understanding of the physical characteristics of the Earth’s surface.
The Global Land Cover SHARE database (GLC-SHARE) initiative represents a major and historic improvement: up until now, such data was collected by different countries and organizations which identified, measured and recorded information in diverse, uneven ways.
GLC-SHARE pulled together all that data and submitted it to a thorough quality-control, harmonizing process, using internationally accepted definitions and standards, thereby bringing a wealth of country-level information into one consolidated dataset spanning the entire planet.
Applications of the new GLC-share database include monitoring of global land cover trends, evaluating the suitability of land for various uses, assessing the impact of climate change on food production, and land-use planning.
FAO’s new database reveals the breakdown of eleven global land cover layers: tree-covered areas (27.7 percent), bare soils (15.2 percent), grasslands (13.0 percent), croplands (12.6 percent), snow and glaciers (9.7 percent), shrub-covered areas (9.5 percent), sparse vegetation (7.7 percent), inland water bodies (2.6 percent), herbaceous vegetation (1.3 percent), artificial surfaces (0.6 percent), and mangroves (0.1 percent).
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.