Our Projects

Developing effective land health surveillance methods 

The organization’s research advances in land health surveillance are based on principles adapted from public health surveillance, where accurate measuring and monitoring of changes and improvements in the health of populations is closely integrated with statistical methods to form a basis for policy development, priority setting and management. The initiative aims at understanding how land health surveillance systems deploy modern science and technology to strengthen evidence-based decision-making on land and agroforestry management to help better understand hazardous and protective factors affecting land health risk.

Assessing land health risks and targeting agroforestry interventions to reduce and reverse land degradation

Through application of the land health surveillance methods, the project aims to determine the main environmental and behavioral risk factors associated with land and soil degradation syndromes in the tropics, and how they are distributed in relation to different settings and factors such as ecoregions and poverty levels. It also seeks to explore the types of agroforestry interventions which can help reduce or reverse key risk factors associated with land degradation and what the cost efficiencies of alternative preventative and rehabilitation interventions under different circumstances.

CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems

The Consortium Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (CRP5) envisions a world in which agriculture thrives alongside vibrant ecosystems, and those engaged in agriculture live in good health, enjoy food and nutritional security. The program, which is made up of five Strategic Research Portfolios (SRPs) and two cross-cutting themes, is led by CGIAR’s International Water Management Institute (IWMI) based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The program will work to provide farmers and pastoralists with production systems that are better adapted to environmental change across eight regions that are centered on large river basins. These are Mekong, Indus and Ganges, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, Tigris and Eupharates, Volta and Niger, Nile, Limpopo and Zambezi and Andes basins, targeting an estimated 300 million people over the next 10 to 20 years. 

The success of this initiative will be through closer collaboration across the CGIAR and through partnerships with universities, national research institutes and global organizations. Efforts will also be directed towards developing partnerships with the private sector within the agricultural and environmental services. 

The World Agroforestry Centre leads the program’s strategic research portfolio on Information Systems, which aims to improve evidence-based decision making at different scales on increasing agricultural productivity while protecting the environment.

Read more: http://wle.cgiar.org/ OR Download the WLE brochure

Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) Project

The Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) aims at narrowing Sub-Saharan Africa’s soil information gap by providing a consistent baseline for monitoring soil ecosystem services. The AfSIS project area includes 17.5 million square km of continental sub-saharan Africa (SSA) and almost 0.6 million square km of Madagascar. This area encompasses more than 90% of Africa’s human population living in 42 countries. By linking legacy, field and laboratory data to remote sensing information, digital terrain models, and other existing environmental covariates, AfSIS will thus be able to provide a unique resource for producing a new generation of soil, vegetation and land-cover maps as well as wide range of statistical products for SSA. 

 Read more about this project in the links below:

 Project write up:







DFID-commissioned Review of the Evidence on Indicators, Metrics and Monitoring Systems

Research and development stakeholders working on sustainable intensification of agro-ecosystems are striving to become more effective in achieving development outcomes. Key questions facing them are:

  • How to evaluate alternative research and development strategies in terms of their potential impact on productivity, environmental services and welfare goals, including trade-offs among these goals?
  • How to cost-effectively measure and monitor actual effectiveness of interventions and general progress towards achieving sustainable development objectives?

DFID commissioned the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to review and identify lessons and opportunities for the derivation and use of data from monitoring initiatives in the sustainable intensification of agriculture. The ultimate goal is to provide decision-makers with tools that they can use to explore trade-offs between food security, environmental and socio-economic goals. The analysis is intended to inform the development of any future DFID research investments and engagement with stakeholders in this area. Read more:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dfid-research-sustainable-development-a-review-of-monitoring-initiatives-in-agriculture--2


FoodAfrica Project

Annually, over 50 percent of all human deaths on earth are associated with malnutrition, mostly occurring in the developing countries. Building healthy soils is a foundation for healthy plants, healthy livestock and healthy people.

"The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in partnership with MTT (AgriFood Research Finland) and the University of Nairobi have stated a project to establish a soil micronutrient surveillance system for Sub-Sharan Africa and build Africa capacity in new diagnostic analytical methods. The project is part of FoodAfrica - a research and development Programme enhancing food security in West and East Africa, coordinated by MTT.

Efforts to diagnose, survey and manage soil nutrient deficiencies in Sub-Saharan Africa have been insufficient due the inadequacy of human and laboratory capacity and a lack of cost-effective diagnostic methods that can be applied over large land areas. The project will deploy new infrared and x-ray technology to provide low cost analytical methods for assessing soil micronutrients. It will also draw on a unique set of soil and crop samples being generated by the Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS), coupled with the long history of expertise in soil micronutrient analysis at MTT in Finland. The University of Nairobi is helping to build capacity of young scientists in the new approaches.

The end users of results will include farmer groups, public and private extension services, local natural resource planners, project managers, fertilizer companies, national research scientists, national policy makers and planners, and international development organizations."



The Global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) Project

Agricultural production must increase significantly to meet the needs of the growing global population. Already, consumption exceeds net primary productivity (NPP) in many parts of the world. Besides reducing consumption to meet these demands, there are the options of production intensification and land conversion, with both strategies presenting unique challenges, opportunities and risks. The greatest long-term risk for both strategies is that application of non-sustainable land management practices will result in soil degradation that is costly, if not impossible, to reverse. It is often difficult to match land use with land potential due to lack of access to information and local knowledge, low information on maps and obsolete information by the time the maps are developed. A new cloud-based Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) will allow land potential to be defined explicitly and dynamically for unique and constantly changing soil and climatic conditions and to be updated based on new evidence using mobile phones. Read more: http://www.landpotential.org       

The ICRAF-UNEP West Africa Drylands Project

The West Africa Drylands Project funded by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) aims to promote an ecosystems approach for sustainable management of the semi-arid lowlands of West Africa. The project will build local and regional capacity in environmental policy development for restoring the West Africa drylands with the aim of improving human well-being and alleviating poverty. Specifically, this project will: a) Build capacity of village communities in sustainable land use planning and conservation agroforestry practices; b) Train national teams in five countries in quantitative characterization of land degradation, and targeting, evaluation and monitoring of policy and conservation agroforestry interventions; c) Locate policy and an agroforestry-based land conservation practices; d) Produce guidelines and case studies for characterization of dryland degradation, targeting interventions and monitoring impact; and e) Provide guidelines and case studies for improved national and regional policy based on adaptive ecosystem management.

The West Africa Drylands publications are also available for download at the below: http://www.unep.org/dewa/Assessments/Ecosystems/Land/tabid/6756/Default.aspx