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EO4cultivar: Mapping Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes in Colombia and Peru

Logos of EO4Cultivar and the UK Space Agency

EO4cultivar: Mapping Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes in Colombia and Peru

The EO4cultivar project is funded by the UK Space Agency under the International Partnership Programme and began in 2017. The project is strengthening commercial agricultural supply chains operating between Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and the UK, by delivering crop monitoring and forecasting products to increase production, and using natural capital approaches to identify opportunities for growth and sustainable land management. The outputs of this programme of work have been delivered through close collaborative working between the partnership of UK and international organisations, co-ordinated by Environment Systems Ltd.

EO4cultivar sustainable livelihoods work package includes two case studies co-ordinated by JNCC, one in each of the focal areas in Colombia and Peru. The case studies demonstrate how combining earth observation data with local knowledge can be used to assess the ecosystem services that contribute to resilient production systems. They also demonstrate how this information can be brought into decision making at relevant scales within multi-functional landscapes.

Project Introduction

The EO4cultivar Project aims to increase the resilience and sustainability of commercial agricultural supply chains operating between Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and the UK. The project has helped to improve the understanding of ways to enhance production systems by identifying opportunities for improving sustainable land management through the use of habitat mapping and ecosystem service modelling.

The project delivers new forms of evidence and advice to growers, farm advisers, and other stakeholders involved with sustainable land management, ultimately helping support land-use practices in response to new knowledge derived from earth observation. This was achieved through the development of a commercial subscription service Agri-track. This service is a suite of crop monitoring and forecasting products providing automated, near real time metrics for use in crop production, agronomy and business intelligence. Agri-track metrics scale from field to countrywide applications and are derived from weekly satellite analytics.

The project is increasing the skill-levels in partner countries by capacity building and supporting the use of earth observation data and technology. The project is fully funding three Latin American students to study for their PhDs in the UK at universities in the EO4cultivar partnership.

Through partnership working EO4cultivar is set to achieve the following impacts:

  • Make a positive contribution towards sustainable food production systems and the implementation of resilient agricultural practices.
  • Increase productivity and manage risk in agricultural supply chains.
  • Support inclusive and sustainable economic growth in target agricultural sectors.
  • Demonstrate options for maintaining ecosystems and the services they provide to target agricultural sectors and wider society.

Details on other EO4cultivar work packages can be found on the full project website.


Colombia case study

A view of a banana plantation in Colombia. A man walks down a path in the middle of the plantation. On either side are banana trees, some of the bunches of bananas are covered in blue and transparent plastic sheeting (© M. Smith)

The Colombian case study applies an integrated ecosystem approach to sustainable land management in the Magdalena region in northern Colombia. This economically important production area supplies bananas and other key commodities to UK supply chains.

Outputs include: an online ecosystem service mapper; management guides designed to demonstrate how ecosystem service models can inform an ecosystem approach and target nature-based solutions at a landscape scale; and reports outlining methods used in case study development. The underlying datasets are open access and available to download.

In Colombia the habitat mapping and ecosystem service modelling was delivered by Environment Systems Ltd, and supported by JNCC, ASBAMA, the banana federation of Magdalena and La Guajira, and a range of local project stakeholders including a large commercial agricultural business and their social foundation, Fundeban, local government, regional NGOs and academic institutions.

For more information, visit the Colombia case study webpage.


Peruvian case study

The landscape in Peru. The foreground is covered in shrubby vegetation. In the background are fields and mountains. Image provided by Matt Smith.

The Peruvian case study focusses on mapping natural capital and ecosystem services to identify how adopting a landscape approach can help inform sustainable practices across agricultural production areas in the Virú Valley, situated in the La Libertad region in north Perú.


Habitat mapping was delivered by JNCC and ecosystem service modelling by Environment Systems Ltd. Activities were supported by the large Peruvian commercial agricultural producer Danper, the agro-industrial innovation and technology transfer centre CITEagro-industrial Chavimochic, and the University of Ica.

For more information, visit the Peru case study webpage.


Project Partners

Logos of the partners and funders involved in the EO4Cultivar project

EO4cultivar is part of the UK Space Agency's International Partnership Programme (IPP), a £30 million per year programme, which uses expertise in space-based solutions, applications and capability to provide a sustainable economic or societal benefit to emerging nations and developing economies. IPP is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion fund provided by the UK Government, which supports cutting-edge research and innovation on global issues affecting developing countries. The GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.

Details on other EO4cultivar work packages can be found on the full project website.


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