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Societal Benefit Area of Biodiversity
GEO BON: Biodiversity Observation Network
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Essential Biodiversity Variables
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Why GEO BON is necessary

The Earth’s biosphere is such a complex system that a comprehensive monitoring network for simultaneously tracking individual species and populations and monitoring trends in forests and other ecosystems has never been built.

To present a full picture of what is happening to biological diversity, this monitoring network would also need to integrate masses of biological information with data and forecasts on climate change, pollution and other threats to biodiversity.

The lack of comprehensive information about the world’s biological resources continues to undermine the efforts of policymakers and managers to set priorities, elaborate strategies and assess the effectiveness of their actions.


Why GEO BON is possible

Fortunately, new technologies are dramatically improving the collection and analysis of biodiversity information. These increasingly sophisticated monitoring systems, which consist of satellite, air, land and ocean-based instruments, are being interlinked through the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to form a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The biodiversity arm of this expanding “system of systems”, called the Biodiversity Observation Network, or GEO BON, will represent the first step towards achieving a more complete understanding of the status and trends in the world’s living resources. It was launched in February 2008.

By bringing together the diverse, stand-alone observation instruments and systems now tracking trends in the world’s genetic resources, species and ecosystems, GEO BON will create a global platform for integrating biodiversity data with data on climate and other key variables. It will fill gaps in taxonomic and biological information and speed up the pace at which information is collected and disseminated.

GEO BON will also ascertain the data requirements of user groups, review and prioritize research, facilitate interoperability among observation systems and databases, generate regularly updated assessments of global biodiversity trends, design decision-support systems that integrate monitoring with ecological modelling and forecasting, and make data and reports available to users via GEOSS.

To learn more about GEO BON, read a recent article in Science, a GEO BON brochure or the GEO BON implementation overview document.


For more information

For more information about GEO BON, please contact


Related documents

GEO BON brochure