(17 March 2014) FAO today 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.
“A strong understanding of our planet’s land cover is essential to promoting sustainable land resources management – including agricultural production to feed a growing population – that makes efficient use of increasingly scarce natural resources yet safeguards the environment,” said John Latham of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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.
Further details of the database are here.