One of the most innovative approaches proposed for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry is to invest in the development of a set of ‘sentinel landscapes’. This approach responds to a key recommendation from the 2009 Stripe Review of Social Sciences in the CGIAR commissioned by the CGIAR Science Council.
A sentinel landscape is essentially a site or network of sites, geographically or issue-bounded, in which a broad range of biophysical, social, economic and political data are monitored, collected with consistent methods and interpreted over the long term. This long-term data is essential for addressing scientific challenges, such as linking biophysical processes to human reactions and understanding the impacts of those reactions on ecosystems. However, the major justification for sentinel landscapes is the need for a common observation ground where reliable data from the biophysical and social sciences can be tracked in consort and over time so that long-term trends can be detected, and society can make mitigation, adaptation and best-bet choices.
At the global scale, the data generated will fit into a global analysis of networks including other (humid) sentinel landscapes while providing a “dry-land ecosystem” perspective to understand issues and processes that could be relevant to managing other similar ecosystems worldwide
Sentinel landscapes Sites