Stimulating Innovation for Global Monitoring of Agriculture (SIGMA)
SIGMA is part of Europe’s contribution to GEOGLAM, actively networking expert organizations world-wide, in a common effort to enhance current remote sensing based agricultural monitoring techniques. SIGMA is financed through the EC’s Research Framework programme (FP7), is led by VITO, and actively participates in the JECAM Research & Development Network.
SIGMA has three main objectives:
- Identify, map and assess agriculture and crop land changes, globally, regionally and locally
- Identify, map and assess changes in agricultural production levels and shifts in cultivation practises
- Identify, map and analyze environmental impacts of Agriculture and cultivation practices
SIGMA implements these activities at local to regional to global scales with partners around the world (Table 1), by establishing operational test site networks in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Vietnam, Africa, Argentina and Brazil. SIGMA further has a number of activities geared toward developing capacity for agricultural monitoring, and regularly carries out training activities and stakeholder workshops.
Table 1. SIGMA Project Partners
SIGMA’s research activities will strengthen international agricultural risk management capacity. Developed methods will significantly increase scientific knowledge and understanding of agricultural dynamics in relation to the environment and produce tangible products:
- cropland maps and statistics, identifying potential for expansion
- maps of agricultural systems, shifts in cultivation practices and crop yield gaps, identifying potential for intensification
- assessments of impact of agriculture on the environment, both due to intensification as expansion
- training sessions, modules and materials on remote sensing based agricultural monitoring
Already, based upon the cross site experiments and other research task, SIGMA has had multiple successful outputs, including an agro-environmental stratification at different levels (Figure 1), a priority map for landcover classification, a unified cropland mask at 250m an online time-series viewer (http://tsviewer.vito-eodata.be/, developed by VITO), an online satellite-based service for vegetation monitoring (VEGA-PRO, developed by IKI), an online validation tool (http://www.geo-wiki.org/branches/sigma/, developed by IIASA).
Figure 1. An example SIGMA output – Global Agro-Environmental Stratification (GAES) - Level 4
Leadership (Point of Contact)