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Issue 3, 2012

Effective monitoring of agriculture: a response

Author affiliations

Abstract

The development of effective agricultural monitoring networks is essential to track, anticipate and manage changes in the social, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture. We welcome the perspective of Lindenmayer and Likens (J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1559) as published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring on our earlier paper, “Monitoring the World's Agriculture” (Sachs et al., Nature, 2010, 466, 558–560). In this response, we address their three main critiques labeled as ‘the passive approach’, ‘the problem with uniform metrics’ and ‘the problem with composite metrics’. We expand on specific research questions at the core of the network design, on the distinction between key universal and site-specific metrics to detect change over time and across scales, and on the need for composite metrics in decision-making. We believe that simultaneously measuring indicators of the three pillars of sustainability (environmentally sound, social responsible and economically viable) in an effectively integrated monitoring system will ultimately allow scientists and land managers alike to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing global food security.

Graphical abstract: Effective monitoring of agriculture: a response

Article information


Submitted
20 Jul 2011
Accepted
20 Dec 2011
First published
01 Feb 2012

J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 738-742
Article type
Perspective

Effective monitoring of agriculture: a response

J. D. Sachs, R. Remans, S. M. Smukler, L. Winowiecki, S. J. Andelman, K. G. Cassman, D. Castle, R. DeFries, G. Denning, J. Fanzo, L. E. Jackson, R. Leemans, J. Lehmann, J. C. Milder, S. Naeem, G. Nziguheba, C. A. Palm, P. L. Pingali, J. P. Reganold, D. D. Richter, S. J. Scherr, J. Sircely, C. Sullivan, T. P. Tomich and P. A. Sanchez, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 738 DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10584E

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