Global Cropland Area Database (GCAD) derived from Remote Sensing in Support of Food Security in the Twenty-first Century: Current Achievements and Future Possibilities uri icon


  • The precise estimation of the global agricultural cropland- extents, areas, geographic locations, crop types, cropping intensities, and their watering methods (irrigated or rainfed; type of irrigation) provides a critical scientific basis for the development of water and food security policies (Thenkabail et al., 2012, 2011, 2010). By year 2100, the global human population is expected to grow to 10.4 billion under median fertility variants or higher under constant or higher fertility variants (Table 1) with over three quarters living in developing countries, in regions that already lack the capacity to produce enough food. With current agricultural practices, the increased demand for food and nutrition would require in about 2 billion hectares of additional cropland, about twice the equivalent to the land area of the United States, and lead to significant increases in greenhouse gas productions (Tillman et al., 2011). For example, during 1960-2010 world population more than doubled from 3 billion to 7 billion. The nutritional demand of the population also grew swiftly during this period from an average of about 2000 calories per day per person in 1960 to nearly 3000 calories per day per person in 2010

publication date

  • 2015