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GRAS Ing Agroclimate and Information Systems Unit
Agroclimate and Information Systems Unit

The Agroclimate and Information Systems Unit (GRAS) of the Agricultural Research National Institute (INIA) of Uruguay is a “Technical Unit” depending on the National Direction of the Institute interacts with the programmatic structure by items (Areas and National Programs). Its main tasks are the promotion, coordination and performance of the research projects and other activities related with Climate Change and its interaction with the agricultural and forestry production systems. It also studies the development of Modern Systems of Information and Support to Decision Making, using modern tools as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS) and simulation models, for gaining access, analysing and managing information.

In the following link you can gain access to the resume document of tasks, activities and projects performed by the Unit.

Action areas

The Unit work is mainly focussed on the development of some of the global and emerging topics considered of high strategic importance, using new tools and methodologies. The Resolution of the INIA Board of Directors that creates the Unit, therefore says:

“The action areas of the Agroclimate and Information Systems Unit will be the following:

  • Current Climate Variability (characterization, systems and activities vulnerability, adaptation measures).
  • Climate Change (study and definition, vulnerability and adaptative measures).
  • Global Warming (greenhouse gases emissions and sequestrations, carbon market, clean development mechanisms, bio fuels, etc)
  • Climate Forecasts (study and development promotion, application in decision making)
  • Development and dissemination of climate related information (weather variables maps and pamphlets, Soil Water Balance at national level, regional climatic models and radars, weather forecasts, etc)
  • Development and general application of Information Systems in different areas and activities (remote sensing, simulation models, GIS, GPS, etc) (Click here to gain access to the complete resolution).

Consequently, the projects and activities for the identification and development of less vulnerable and more adapted to variability and climate change agricultural and forestry production systems and technologies are considered of high priority. The greenhouse gasses emission and sequestration analysis and study, the clean development mechanisms and alternative energy sources mechanisms study and promotion (as biodiesel) and the identification and development of indexes and techniques which may permit the measurement and monitoring of carbon sinks to support the development of the carbon emerging market are also topics developed in the projects being currently executed.

Another high-priority action line is the approach to the Information and Support Systems for Decision Making (SISTD) either at country level or at farm level, with emphasis on prevention and management of agricultural production risks associated to climatic factors. Likewise, the fast and effective diffusion of information in useful and easy-to-understand formats is a first priority goal constantly pursued by the Unit. In this sense, the main tool to help reaching this goal is the Unit web site (www.inia.org.uy/gras/). In this site, information is available to help planning and decision making processes by farmers and other actors of the sector. For example, the “Soil Water Balance at National Level” made jointly by the Land and Water Division of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fishery and the Meteorology National Office, gives an estimation of the soil water availability all over the country every 10 days. The Hydric Welfare Index for vegetation made from the Soil Water Balance and the Vegetation Index estimated with remote sensing information, is useful to evaluate the situation of crops and pastures in the different regions of the country. Alert Systems as the one of DON for wheat give weekly information about favourable climatic conditions for the development of Fusarium and help in decision making for sanitary treatments. Dates estimation systems for flowering and harvesting of summer crops are useful to choose sowing periods for better use of water in soil or to avoid periods with hydric deficiencies on key crop stages. Maps of precipitations and their comparisons with historical averages, short (3 to 6 days) and medium term (2 to 3 months) climatic forecasts made by specialized institutions, soil temperatures data and others coming from the INIA agro climatic centres and available free “on line” for all users in almost real time are tools that used in an integrated way allow a better planning through a deeper knowledge of current and future situations.

 

Strategy

One of the most important strategies of the GRAS Unit in all its research and development activities and projects is the fulfillment of agreements and alliances with other specialized institutions at national and international level. For the performing of these activities in an effective and efficient way the association and coordination with Offices and Divisions of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fishery (RENARE, OPYPA, UPACC, etc), the Faculty of Agronomy, the National Office of Meteorology, the IMFIA of the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Sciences, and the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Ordering and Environment (MVOTMA), among others, are of enormous importance. Working agreements with regional and international institutions as INTA from Argentina, EMBRAPA from Brazil, INIA from Spain, and the NASA or the IRI from the United States of America, have given and continue giving assessment and training for the management of new instruments, methodologies and studies related to Climate, Climate Change and the Information Systems.

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Contacts

INIA Las Brujas - EE Wilson Ferreira Aldunate
Ruta Route 48 Km. 10 - Canelones - Uruguay
** Google Earth Placemark **

Tel. +(598-2) 3677641 / Fax. +(598-2) 3677609
E-mail: gras@inia.org.uy

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