Rice maps

I’ve linked on a couple of occasions to Robert Hijmans’ rice maps, as published in IRRI’s Rice Today magazine. Robert has now put these all together on a single webpage. Good idea.

New map of anthropogenic biomes

Professor Erle Ellis of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Professor Navin Ramankutty of McGill University have come up with a new classification of the earth’s biomes. They call the new classes “anthromes,” or anthropogenic biomes:

Anthropogenic biomes are not simple vegetation categories, and are best characterized as heterogeneous landscape mosaics combining a variety of different land uses and land covers.

I would imagine this will be quite useful in mapping the distribution of individual crops and even crop varieties. The anthromes may be viewed in Google Earth. Here’s what South Asia looks like.


And this is the area around Mexico City.



Not so cool cartograms

Worldmapper has a new series of cartograms out, and very depressing they are too.1 They show the size of territories scaled in proportion to the absolute numbers of deaths from various causes. Look in particular at the nutritional deficiencies map. But for a real shock, check out the specific map for vitamin A deficiency. Remember, this is something that is totally preventable, thanks to agrobiodiversity. No wonder that scientists working in Africa have highlighted the importance of high beta-carotene sweet potato cultivars in the recent global survey of sweet potato research priorities carried out by the International Potato Centre (CIP).2 Coincidentally, I also found today a report on an attempt to promote sweet potato (and other root crops) on the ground in Africa, focusing on women and homegardens.3 The researchers say that one of the things that can be useful in encouraging adoption is providing information on nutritional benefits.

  1. Via National Geographic. []
  2. Via EurekAlert. []
  3. Via Eldis. []

Rice, China and climate change

The map shows rice yield in China by county for 19961. The pattern it shows has changed significantly in the past 20 years, and will probably change more in the next 20. Climate change will drive that to some extent, of course. But not just climate change. Robert Hijmans, a geographer at IRRI, has a nice feature in Rice Today discussing the “relocation of rice production in China.”

Remember Jeremy has an omnibus post about Chinese agrobiodiversity.

  1. Thanks to Robert Hijmans, IRRI. []