Given current population trends and projections in sub-Saharan Africa, it is anticipated that substantial intensification of agricultural cropland is certain within the next decades. In the absence of adoption of improved technologies poor rural populations in this region will continue to degrade and mine the natural resources to ensure their survival. All these actions will have far-reaching implications for environmental quality and human health. However, only through the integration of environment and development concerns with greater attention to these link can we achieve the goal of fulfilling the basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed eco-systems and a safer, more prosperous future. The paper reviews case studies and provides examples of the integration, analysis, and visualization of information from remotely sensed, biophysical and socioeconomic information to assess the present situation hindering agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa. These studies show the interactions between socio-economic and environmental factors that can help governments and policy-makers assess the scope of the problems, examine alternatives and decide on a course of action. Sound decisions depend on accurate information, yet most African countries face severe competing demands for the financial and human commitments necessary to staff an information system equal to its policy-making requirements. The role of international data centers is reviewed in terms of their abilities to develop and maintain information systems that bring together available accumulated knowledge and data. This permits comparative studies, which make it possible to develop a better understanding of the relationships among demographic dynamics, technology, cultural behavioral norms, and land resources and hence better decision making for sustainable development. (C) 2002 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Bw01wTimes Cited:1Cited References Count:32Advances in Space Research