Humidtropics Similarity Analysis

The Humidtropics program of the CGIAR, aims to help poor farm families in tropical Africa, Asia and Americas to boost their income from integrated agricultural systems’ intensification while preserving their land for future generations. Four action areas have been defined, in Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Central America and Mekong area. Each of the action areas is subdivided into action sites. Research in the different action site will be conducted, among other identification of best bet innovation to improve agricultural livelihoods. Innovations that improve these rural livelihoods work in a particular location but might not be a solution in another location with different characteristics. Understanding the context within which research operates is crucial to understand where else the acquired knowledge can applied and define the out-scaling potential. Up to recent, context was mainly understood as the biophysical environment, for which full coverage often satellite image derived geographical information exist. However, in complex agricultural systems, uptake and spreading of innovation is often more driven by socio-economic and institutional context than the biophysical environment. It is therefore crucial to define context in a broader way. Similarity analysis tries to understand these contexts and map them out. It allows addressing two different but complementary questions. First of all, to what extent is a given site similar to another sites? This allows to predict cross-site learning. Secondly, where else in the region can a similar context be found? This allows to define the extent of potential out-scaling of the best bet innovations and lessons learnt. The objective of this report is present a generic similarity analysis for each of the action sites of the Humid Tropic program and define the out-scaling and cross-site learning potential. The similarity analysis tool allows to find area with similar characteristics to a study site. It runs three types of similarity: principal component, Mahalanobis distance and Bioclim distance.

Summary of uses: Visualizing similarity of socio-economic and institutional context in Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Central America and Mekong area (through maps developed using a similarity analysis) Evaluating the Euclidian similarity, Mahalanobis similarity and Multivariate Environmental Similarity Surfaces of the aforementioned regions.

Data and Resources




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Additional Information

Field Value
Contributing organisations International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Contact person Catherine Pfeifer
Developer Marius Gilbert
Language R
Year 2014 (in progress)
Person responsible for updates Marius Gilbert
Source code Not yet available
Participatory approach / method to address complexity
Target audience
When in the project cycle is the tool useful
Contribution to gender research
Spatial scale
Levels of organizations taken into account
Source of data
Expected output of tool
Type of assessment
Tool manual/User guide
Citation Pfeifer, C., Gilbert, M. and Robinson T. 2016. Similarity analysis tool to assess the spatial out scaling potential of a best practice. ILRI Manual 26. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).