Terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems provide essential socio-economic and environmental benefits. Ecosystems the world over, however, are under tremendous stress from rapid land-use change, pollution and the overexploitation of natural resources.
Unfortunately, current Earth observation systems for monitoring forests, wetlands, deserts and other ecosystems suffer from numerous gaps and weaknesses. As a result, these systems cannot adequately support efforts to revive, protect or manage ecosystems.
The Group on Earth Observations seeks to strengthen ecosystem monitoring through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. GEOSS is establishing an expanded and coordinated network of land, ocean and coastal monitoring systems that will produce information of the required breadth and depth.
In particular, GEO is improving spatial information on ecosystem conditions and trends. This will enable researchers to classify ecosystems and delineate their boundaries, including the geographic limits of protected areas. GEO is also generating and integrating a wide variety of ecosystem data and creating high-resolution maps so that decision makers can monitor ecosystem services such as flood control and sustainable timber harvests. Other priorities include improving the monitoring and assessment of desertification and coordinating global, regional and national forest monitoring programs.
The GEO Secretariat Expert responsible for Ecosystems is Yubao Qiu.