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The challenge

A growing global demand for animal protein

Sheep in semi arid region north east of Burra, South Australia. 1992.

Pastures and rangelands account for the largest land-use on Earth, with 48 per cent of global biomass consumed by grazing animals.

Lands used for livestock production are often constrained by topography, fertility or rainfall, yet, the growing global demand for animal protein will require step changes in productivity. Given the environmental footprint of livestock production, it is essential to develop sustainable intensification management strategies for these potentially vulnerable lands.

Our response

Better sustainable management for land

The Rangeland and Pasture Productivity (RaPP) Map is a freely-available, interactive online map for monitoring the condition of the world's range and pasture lands.

RaPP is one activity within the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring initiative (GEOGLAM).

The tool was developed in collaboration with other state and national agencies, integrating our expertise in satellite imagery, rangeland ecology and pasture modelling. Supported by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program, RaPP Map is now hosted by CSIRO's Data61, with assistance from the National Computational Infrastructure and TERN.

The results

Better data and analysis

RaPP Map can be used to track the status of vegetation cover, and the condition of these land systems. Available data include measures of vegetation cover, monthly rainfall, monthly soil moisture, global land use, and livestock density.

Weekly time-series datasets are available for the past several decades; data for specific weeks can be selected or the entire dataset can be queried to visualise changes over time. Numerous training workshops have been held globally and national pilot sites have been established in 11 countries. These sites are helping to validate and improve the data included in the tool.

We are continuing to develop the RAPP Map through our collaboration with the partners in the GEOGLAM initiative.


  • Over the period of February 2017-2018, 1100 individuals used the tool in >3000 sessions. Most users were in Australia (68 per cent), with others in the USA, (6.6 per cent), China (4 per cent), the Netherlands (2 per cent) and Brazil (1.7 per cent). In Australia, state NRM bodies use it to monitor ground cover levels with a view to minimising soil erosion. It is also being used by agencies in Namibia, South Africa, Mongolia and Argentina.
  • RAPP Map is being used to contribute to, and measure progress toward, UN Sustainable Development Targets and Goals.
  • We are a partner in the NASA Harvest Consortium, led by the University of Maryland, to enhance the use of satellite data in decision-making related to food security and agriculture domestically and globally.
  • We provide data to the New South Wales Government's DustWatch program for monitoring wind erosion and caring for soils.
  • RAPP supported national reporting of erosion in the Australia State of the Environment 2016 report.

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