Achieving long-term food security while protecting biodiversity and other ecosystem services will require: sustainable intensification of production on existing lands, restoration of degraded lands, and converting to agriculture only those lands where potential production is high, while degradation risk is low. To meet these requirements, knowledge and information about how land potential varies at field to regional scales is needed. However, existing knowledge and information about land potential is poorly integrated and unavailable at the scale of small farms where it is most urgently needed.
The Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) aims to increase access to global and local land potential knowledge. The program is developing innovative mobile data collection, analysis methods, and tools to be used by farmers, pastoralists, governments, and development workers to sustainably increase agricultural production, biodiversity conservation, and improve climate change adaptation efforts and other ecosystem services.
LandPKS uses mobile phone and cloud computing technologies to:
- Globalize access to local and scientific knowledge and information about land potential,
- Identify and deliver the knowledge and information relevant to each type of land/soil to anyone with a mobile phone, and
- Connect people with similar types of lands and challenges with each other to share learning and experiences.
Through an interagency agreement issued from USAID, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is developing LandPKS as a platform to allow others to use as the foundation for developing apps to address more specific information needs. The suite of mobile phone applications is currently being tested as a pilot in Kenya and Namibia, and the first application will be released to the global public in April or May 2015.
- Support long-term, sustainable increases in productivity and biodiversity conservation through improved land-use planning and better land management
- Local and scientific knowledge about the potential productivity, biodiversity, and resilience of specific types of land for local, regional, and global application will be collected, shared, and integrated
- Governments, farmers, and pastoralists will have greater access to local and scientific knowledge from all over the world that is relevant to specific types of land
Innovation will be promoted through peer-to-peer learning
- Gender equality will be increased by providing women farmers improved access to knowledge and information
For more information about LandPKS, visit: http://landpotential.org