Atlas of Organics: Mapping organic agriculture

Building upon a previous publication investigating organic agriculture based on the reported hectares of certified organically managed agriculture land I have continued this little project in collaboration with John Paull to extend our attempt to quantify and map the world of organic agriculture, which led to the creation of a new atlas of organic agriculture. Here we compiled the following global organics data: (1) certified organic agriculture hectares; (2) certified organic producers; (3) total certified organic production hectares (organic agriculture plus wildculture plus forestry plus aquaculture); (4) certified organic wildculture hectares and mapped these using Worldmapper-style density-equalising cartograms. The maps illustrate the broad global diffusion of the organics meme, visually highlight leaders and laggers, and indicate opportunities for growth and better reportage.
In the world map of the organic agriculture hectares Australia dominates the picture, while Europe is strongly represented, and Africa is weakly represented:

Atlas of Organics: Mapping organic agriculture using cartograms
(click for larger version)

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Global Spaces of Food Production


Global Spaces of Food Production
In the year 2000 there were approximately 15 million square km of cropland and 28 million square km of pasture which are represented in the two main maps. These are equal to 12% respectively 22% of the ice-free land surface. This is according to estimates of a study on the geographic distribution of global agricultural lands by Ramankutty et al (published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 2008) who used a methodology of combining agricultural inventory data and satellite-derived land cover data to come to these figures (data can be accessed via Columbia University’s SEDAC). Continue reading

The Disappearance of Childhood

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.
(The Disappearance of Childhood, Neil Postman)

In the previous post I showed a map of the global distribution of malnutrition among the youngest children. To complete this picture, I used the same subnational Global Poverty Data from SEDAC and combined the data about the proportion of children with the total population (derived from the GPW database). Where information was missing, I used information from the national-level UN World Population Prospects to complete the data and generated a grid of the global distribution of children on a subnational level. The result of this is a new gridded cartogram display of the world’s children (aged under 5) which shows each grid cell resized according to the total number of children living there (as in many world maps on this website, I use the worldmapper colour scheme for the countries which makes the map easier to read). The following map therefore gives every child under the age of five the same amount of space, with additional information about the variation beyond the country borders. This is today’s world of children:

Map / Gridded Cartogram of Children in the World
(click for larger map)

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Hungry Children

After several of weeks in the headlines, the United Nations has eventually declared a famine in parts of the Horn of Africa today after large parts of the people there suffer from the worst drought in decades. Malnutrition is a much wider ranging problems in the poorer parts of the world, although it only comes to our mind when we see headlines as we do today. There are startling facts about malnutrition that are very contradictory to the wasteful lifestyles in the wealthy parts of the planet (a recent FAO study suggests that one third of the world’s food goes to waste): Continue reading