Comprehensive and Coordinated Approach of GEOSS to Ecosystem Challenges

Authored by: Abad Chabbi , Henry W. Loescher , Antonello Provenzale , Stefano Nativi

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Infrastructures

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498751315
eBook ISBN: 9781315368252
Adobe ISBN:


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Terrestrial and marine ecosystems provide essential goods and services to human societies. In the last several decades, however, anthropogenic pressures are causing serious threats to ecosystem integrity, functions, and processes. In turn, ecosystem degradation and loss of ecosystem services can seriously affect human well-being and climate processes on local and regional scales, potentially amplifying the negative effects of global change. Knowledge-based conservation, management, and restoration policies are thus urgently needed in order to ensure the delivery of ecosystem benefits in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures. The Group on Earth Observations Global Ecosystem Initiative (GEO ECO) uses newly available monitoring methodologies that combine approaches in geosciences and biosciences, remotely sensed data, and in situ observations to provide open-access information on the state and ongoing changes of ecosystems and ecosystem services. The best use is made of existing and future earth observations and field monitoring data, complemented by appropriate interpretation tools and data services, as well as ecosystem models able to use these data. The GEO ECO combines new activities developed in the framework of the European H2020 ECOPOTENTIAL and Satellite-Based Wetland Observation Service projects, with continuing global ecosystem mapping activities carried forward from the former GEO ecosystems task from the first decade of GEO and Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey, Esri, and a number of international ecosystems experts. In these endeavors, all data, scientific results, models, and information will be made accessible and available through a system of cloud-based open platforms implementing virtual laboratories. Such platforms will be a major contribution to the GEOSS common infrastructure, reinforcing the GEOSS Data Collection of Open Resources for Everyone and in harmony with the Open Data global vision.

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