UN WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE (UN-WCMC) (GB)
Biodiversity is facing a global crisis as evidenced by dramatic declines in species and habitats. Tracking the state of biodiversity requires operational monitoring systems underpinned by robust indicators. While these indicators convey invaluable information to policy makers on the status and trends of biodiversity, their use is hampered due to patchy geographical coverage of input data, differing measuring methodologies and insufficient time series data to track trends. These shortcomings have fuelled the development of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV) as an intermediate conceptual step between low-level primary observations and high-level policy-relevant indicators. The EBV conceptual framework has been conceived by a group of internationally ecologists under the lead of GEO-BON.
The RS4EBV project aimed to explore, develop and test, through local-scale pilot studies, the potential of satellite remote sensing for selected EBVs such as Ecosystem Functional Diversity (FD), which is a measure of the components that influence how ecosystems operate and function. The project developed and tested remotely-sensed EBVs on biophysical variables (chlorophyll content, LAI and Land Surface Phenology) from S2 time series, and inferred information on the Functional Diversity (FD) of terrestrial ecosystems (diversity of plant community functional traits). The quality of the RS-based FD proxy was assessed, with some in-depth validation of the proposed approaches, in different terrestrial ecosystems such as natural grasslands (North Wyke, UK), Salt marshes (Schiermonnikoog Island, NL) and Temperate forests (Bavaria Forest, DE).
The findings of the project have been transferred to the GEO BON working groups on Ecosystem Structure and Function, where the FD modelling approach will be further developed.