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Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Tools and References from the International Resource Panel Report

The 2016 report “Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Evaluation Systems, Strategies, and Tools,” written by the International Resource Panel (IRP), examines how to better evaluate and use the potential of land on the way to achieving land degradation neutrality.

Cover image of IRP report

Click to read the full 2016 report “Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Evaluation Systems, Strategies, and Tools,” written by the International Resource Panel. The tools and resources below are referred to in the report. Please refer to the available links for additional information. We (LandPKS) have included hyperlinks for bibliography entries from the IRP report whenever possible.


  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides a tremendous and constantly increasing amount of tools, data, information and knowledge relevant to sustainably increasing food production. The Land Resources Planning Toolbox provides direct access to a wide variety of useful tools.
  • The International Soil Reference and Information Centre World Soil Information’s website features various tools and data to provide global soil information and currently serves as the primary global repository for soil information. ISRIC uses machine learning methods to create SoilGrids, a digital global soil mapping system whose prediction models use over 230,000 soil profile observations.
  • This website is continuously updated with land evaluation resources and examples of how land evaluation has been successfully used around the world.
  • Landon (2014) provides a concise, practical reference for much of the technical knowledge necessary to implement land evaluation and management.
  • This web portal provides access to a wide variety of tools, including automated sampling design, data analysis and reporting, and simple image-analysis tools that anyone can learn in under an hour. It also includes a Wiki, which, among other things, helps decide what remote sensing imagery is most appropriate based on objectives.
  • The ability to search for articles based on where the research was completed, rather than where the author’s office has been, is nearly impossible in Google Scholar and other bibliographic search engines. JournalMap allows users to search for articles based on location, as well as the biophysical characteristics of a location. 
  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Knowledge Hub contains a wealth of information about desertification, land degradation, and drought. It features a Drought Toolbox to support action on drought preparedness and a Capacity Building Marketplace for sharing knowledge and opportunities. In addition, the UNCCD Knowledge Hub contains country pages to connect individuals to local organizations and recommend tools tailored to national conditions.
  • UNEP is continuing to increase access to tools, data and knowledge resources, including through UNEPLive.
  • Global Agro-Ecological Zones: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have developed the Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology over the past 30 years for assessing agricultural resources and potential. GAEZ allows users to access previously-run evaluations using a geospatial interface.
  • The World Soil Archive and Catalogue provides access to soil survey reports, maps, imagery and photographs from 344 territories worldwide.


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