Anton Vrieling receives expert funding to strengthen global food security

Seven senior researchers affiliated with Dutch research institutions will receive extra funding to spend more time on research and research management in large programmes and platforms of the CGIAR, the global research partnership on food security, dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources. Amongst them is dr.ir. Anton Vrieling, who is an assistant professor at the department of Natural Resources at ITC.

The awarded researchers submitted a proposal in the first assessment round of the Senior Experts Programme (SEP) call of the Netherlands – CGIAR partnership. This call is continuously open until Thursday 27 February 2020, or until the budget is fully allocated. The deadline for the next assessment round is 11 December 2018.

Project description

Tropical rangelands support large numbers of livestock-dependent households. Climatic variability impacts rangeland productivity, while resource exploitation and greenhouse gas emissions from rangelands affect the environment. The ‘livestock and the environment’ flagship of the CRP on Livestock aims to contribute to sustainable livestock production systems in developing countries by reducing their environmental footprint and adapting them to global environmental change. Satellite remote sensing can assist in understanding global change impacts on rangelands, and in assessing their environmental footprint.

The Senior Expert will support the CRP flagship by co-leading and executing research on earth observation applications for rangeland monitoring and assessment, with a focus on three main pillars.

  • The first pillar aims to improve the evaluation of rangeland productivity, taking advantage of new sensors to monitor seasonal variability in rangeland productivity with fine spatial detail, allowing for better separation of management and environmental impacts across rangeland types.
  • The second pillar evaluates how resilient the productivity of various rangeland types is to climate variability, with a specific focus on observed and predicted increases of drought and intense rainfall.
  • The third pillar examines the spatial and temporal distribution of night-time livestock enclosures and their active use with the aim to map hotspots of greenhouse gas emissions.

All pillars will be implemented in existing East African pilot sites, and link to ongoing measurements by flux towers and phenological cameras, before upscaling the methods to the regional level. These pillars are expected to provide significant input to help design, promote, and monitor resilient livestock production systems.