Agricultural Suitability of Global Soils

Jul 20, 2010
At the dawn of the 21st century, with a population and subsequent food crisis looming on the horizon, humans have pushed the extent of our available croplands to the very edge of feasability. With little room left to expand, as this set of maps demonstrates, the best chance to grow more food lies in increasing food production on the land that is already under cultivation.

Another issue facing the available agricultural land of the Earth has to do with the placement of cities, and their sprawling suburbs. Most of the major cities of the western world were originally built as trade centers for farmers. As the city grew and spread out, it generally spread into the good farmland surrounding it. Thus over the last century, much farmland has been lost to urban sprawl.

This dataset represents the fraction of each grid cell that is suitable to be used for agriculture. It is based on the temperature and soil conditions of each grid cell.
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Ramankutty, N., J.A. Foley , J. Norman, and K. McSweeney
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Title: Agricultural Suitability of Global Soils
Credits: Ramankutty, N., J.A. Foley , J. Norman, and K. McSweeney
Publication Date: March, 2001
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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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The Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) provides scientific expertise to support the conservation and recovery of biological diversity in its natural state through applied research, education, planning, and community service.