The CGIAR Research Program CRP1.1 Dryland Systems ("Integrated agricultural production systems for the poor and vulnerable in dry areas") is designed to pursue new knowledge about dryland agro-ecosystems of the developing world and to develop technologies and policies that will improve the livelihoods of poor agricultural communities in target regions of those. Key constraints to be overcome characterize dryland agricultural environments: water scarcity, frequent droughts, high climatic variability, poor soil resources, and land degradation, with all of these likely to be affected by climate change.
The drylands of the world are highly diverse, which is why it has been a particular challenge to outscale results from a mostly reductionist approach to crop and land &water management research focusing on individual components of the agro-ecosystem from specific research sites to large areas. An integrated agro-ecosystems approach to research-for-development is needed. Characterization of their particular agricultural environments is therefore a conditio sine qua non for a successful drylands research-for-development program. As part of the CRP 1.1 activities, geographic information systems (GIS) are expected, on the one hand, to play a major role in generating new knowledge about the drylands of the developing world, and, on the other hand, to integrate, process, transform and document through spatial analysis, existing knowledge.
The GIS Units of the CGIAR Centers have already assembled large spatial data holdings, part of which will serve the CRP1.1 community. In preparation of the "Dryland Systems Regional Design Working Meeting", held in Nairobi (27-30 June 2011), the GIS Units of the CG Centers participating in CRP1.1 were tasked with compiling regional-scale information (in the form of maps and statistical tables) about the global drylands for the characterization of the Target Regions and to assist with the identification of Benchmark Areas, Action Sites and Satellite Sites within those Regions. The spatial information, compiled for the Nairobi meeting, is now made available for a wider public through this website. Part of this material, particularly where it concerns socioeconomic and poverty indicators and livelihood systems, is to be considered a preliminary starting point and will need to be refined and expanded as part of CRP1.1 research, once it gets officially under-way.
CRP1.1 website is a dynamic website, and we will continue updating the content.