The activities of this new working group are closely related to those of the former WG3 but with a specific focus on characterizing Ecosystem Structure. In general, the WG focuses on measures of ecosystem state and how it is changing, including condition of and change in the structural components that maintain biodiversity characteristics. The WG develops new techniques and algorithms for earth observation from space in characterizing ecosystem structure and its change over time. Activities on Ecosystem function as well as species population and abundance related to EO will be coordinated with the Ecosystem Structure working group, particularly in regard to RS-EBVs.

About

Leads

Andrew K. Skidmore
University of Twente, Enschede
Matthew C. Hansen
University of Maryland

Key Objectives

  • Identify/agree on the subset of EBVs for which satellite remote sensing can play a key role in characterizing Ecosystem Structure and its change over time (RS-EBVs).
  • The WG will closely link and coordinate the development of RS-EBVs with working groups on

o Ecosystem function
o Species traits
o Species populations

  • Network with GEOBON WGs working on specific EBVs and offer remote sensing expertise
  • Encourage acquisition of the needed observations
  • Develop definitions and specifications
  • Facilitate implementation of product generation mechanisms
  • Engage user groups such as CBD SBSTTA, IPBES and NGOs on candidate RS-EBVs, solicit feedback, and get “buy-in”
  • Ensure the value of Ecosystem Structure products to users is clear and well-communicated; relevance to the Aichi targets and SDGs is of particular importance
Activities
Activity 1. Ecosystem Structure and Remote Sensing EBVs

Lead: University of Maryland, University Twente, GEOBON (Matt Hansen & Andrew Skidmore)
Rationale: How can we monitor Essential Biodiversity Variables from Earth Observation at a global level and what are key Ecosystem Structural Variables.
Timeline:
Feb-April 17: review of available information
July-September 17: workshop to discuss findings and plan required research
Oct 17: Ecosystem Structure EBVs monitoring Guidelines
Dec 17: Scientific article published
Resources needed: Funding to support the organization of the workshop (hopefully granted by GEO BON)

Activity 2. Remote Sensing EBVs

Lead: WCMC And University Twente (Brian O’Connor and Andrew Skidmore)
Rationale: The Remote Sensing for Essential Biodiversity Variables (RS4EBV) project is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) under Innovators III and aims to establish a monitoring and modelling framework around the use of Sentinel-2 imagery for the retrieval of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs). Direct RS EBVs such as Leaf Area Index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll and vegetation phenology, as well as a higher-level indirect EBV, namely Functional Diversity (FD) (the range and relative abundance of traits within a plant community) will be retrieved.
Timeline:
Mid-term Review June 2016,
Final delivery 2nd Q 2017
Scientific article 3rd Q 2017
Resources: ESA funded RS-EBV Innovators project

Activity 3. Global monthly vegetation cover (percentage of cover)

Lead: ISPRA, iDiv (Valentina & Carlos Guerra)
Rationale: We propose to create and validate a global layer of vegetation cover (as percentage of cover) based on MODIS images with monthly variation that can be used as a critical support for several indicators related to hydrologically based environmental modelling.
Timeline: Jan-Jun 2017 Validation activities / Aug-Nov 2017 Testing and assimilation / Dec 2017 publication of the dataset.
Resources needed: We will seek funding to support human resources for validation activities with support of GEO BON.

Activity 4: LandScen: Land Use and Land Cover Change Scenarios Portal

Lead: iDiv-MLU (Isabel M.D. Rosa)
Rationale: Existing scenarios of land use and land cover change (LULCC) are sparsely distributed amongst the literature with no central platform that facilitates the access to this information. In this activity, a database of existing scenarios of LULCC across the globe will be created. Several characteristics of these scenarios will be recorded, such as: spatial and temporal resolutions, extent, location, model used, use in existing policy reports (e.g. CBD, UNEP-WCMC, IPCC, IPBES), and contact information. Such database of metadata, and whenever possible the data itself, will be the basis of a web portal (currently under construction, see Figure 1), to facilitate the access to existing LULCC by policy and decision makers, thus contributing to a more comprehensive view and a greater utility of these scenarios in supporting policy- and decision-makers. EBVs addressed: land cover; ecosystem extent and fragmentation.
Timeline: Initial set-up 1st Q 2017, Mid-term Review mid-/end- 2017, Final delivery 1st Q 2018.
Resources (needed): Initally, this activity would be part of the “Using land cover change models for addressing pressing conservation issues” project (LCCMcons, http://lccmcons.eu), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 703862. Funding for further development and maintenance will be identified and seeked after 2018.

Activity 5: SilviNat: an automated tool for monitoring natural forest and forest plantations’ dynamics

Lead and partners: iDiv-MLU, University of Sheffield (Isabel M.D. Rosa, Joāo M.B. Carreiras)
Rationale: Being able to monitor the dynamics of forest plantations (Silviculture), primary forests and natural regeneration (Natural forests) is essential to have a clear picture on the overall forest cover change, and how it impacts the provision of ecosystem services such as timber production and carbon sequestration, among others. At the global scale, it is very challenging to distinguish natural forests from plantations (see Hansen et al. 2013), due to the great diversity of species used in silviculture which often mix their spectral signal with that of native forests. At the local to regional scales, however, it is possible to develop tools that are able to i) individualize the spectral signature of the most important tree species used in plantations and ii) evaluate over time the dynamics of forest loss and gain within natural forests (primary and regeneration) and plantations. Such comprehensive monitoring would allow decision-makers to assess not only the impact of changes in commodity prices (e.g. timber value), but also the success of implemented conservation actions (e.g. promote forest regeneration), and to tackle illegal deforestation activities, thus having a comprehensive picture on the dynamics of forest cover change. In this activity, a fully-automated tool will be developed to track forest dynamics in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. EBVs addressed: land cover; ecosystem extent and fragmentation.
Timetable: Initial set-up 1st Q 2017, Mid-term Review mid-/end- 2017, Final delivery 1st Q 2018.
Resources (needed): Initially, this activity would be part of the “Using land cover change models for addressing pressing conservation issues” project (LCCMcons, http://lccmcons.eu), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 703862. Funding for further development will be identified and seeked from 2018 onwards.

Data Products

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Documents & Publications
2017

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2016

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Members

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Resources

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