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Fall 2007

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GIS Recognized as a Tool to Better Manage Diminishing Resources

World Development Report Recommends GIS to Aid Agriculture and Economic Development

Published by the World Bank, the 2008 World Development Report (WDR) focuses on agriculture for development. Agriculture for DevelopmentIn analyzing agriculture's role in economic development, the report addresses several crucial questions, such as: How has agriculture changed in the past two decades? What are the important new challenges and opportunities for agriculture? How can agriculture be made more effective for poverty reduction? How can governments facilitate the transition of large populations out of agriculture, without simply transferring the burden of rural poverty to urban areas?

The WDR is published annually and relates that advancements in GIS technology provide new resources for resolving the complex problems of sustaining and developing agriculture. GIS is referenced in 6 of the document's 11 chapters, suggesting that the technology be used for the following strategies:

  • Determining the spatial distribution of rural poverty in relation to agriculture
  • Creating new collaboration between scientists, policy makers, and farmers
  • Improving the practice of precision farming
  • Identifying areas that can absorb higher livestock densities
  • Filling the institutional vacuum in pasture management
  • Monitoring carbon emissions

As the natural resources that sustain agriculture become increasingly sparse, the World Bank expects that the global demand for food will double within the next 50 years. The WDR labels GIS as an innovative technology required to help meet such demands.

More Information

For more information on the WDR and its recommended use of GIS as a supportive technology in the economic development of agriculture, visit

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