Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earth observation highlighted at UN biological diversity conference

04.06.2008
Addressing the global issue of biodiversity loss, participants from all over the world recently gathered in Germany to attend the UN's Convention of Biological Diversity Conference of Parties. During the conference, data from Earth observation satellites was highlighted as playing a crucial role in the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable development.

In recognition of the importance of biological diversity in sustaining the Earth's population of six billion, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) was signed by 150 government leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. As a result, world governments have agreed to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The Conference of Parties (COP) is the Convention's governing body and advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at periodic meetings.

The ninth meeting of the COP was held in Bonn, Germany from 19-30 May and was attended by almost 7000 participants from 191 countries. ESA hosted a side event at COP9, in which speakers from various UN agencies highlighted the overarching role that Earth observation (EO) satellites play in providing vital information to implement and assess the progress of several UN treaties related to biodiversity. The side event was chaired by Gerald Braun who is from the German Space Agency (DLR) and an ESA delegate.

Representatives from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which are all supported by ESA, expressed their satisfaction and confirmed the usefulness of EO data. Nick Davidson from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands introduced the GlobWetland project as an example of how EO data can be used for wetland assessment, monitoring and management.

He said that, "Often made up of complex and inaccessible terrain, monitoring ecological changes in wetlands without the use of satellite data is very difficult. The project produces land-use cover and change detection maps for use by wetland managers and policymakers. ESA EO data has considerable power and potential in providing the intelligence behind making sound decisions on management and policy."

Also speaking at the event, UNESCO's Mario Hernandez outlined joint programmes undertaken by UNESCO and ESA, including mapping World Heritage sites such as in ESA's Diversity project and gorilla natural-habitat monitoring. The Diversity project, which kicked-off last year, aims to contribute to the monitoring efforts that will help the UNCBD determine whether progress is being made in reducing biodiversity loss and provide insight into which policy measures are proving most effective. For example, the Diversity project has demonstrated the use of EO data for monitoring selected headline indicators of biodiversity loss such as trends in the extent of global drylands.

Lúcio de Rosário from the Portuguese National Focal Point Assistant for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD also spoke at the event and presented DesertWatch, a joint UNCCD-ESA programme designed to assist parties with implementation.

The importance of land-cover mapping was very evident at the meeting and was included as being an important tool by many of the speakers. In particular, Martin Herold from Global Observation for Forest and Land Cover Dynamics expressed the potential for satellite observations for the post-2012 negotiations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and for driving national observation progress for forests.

From an economic perspective, Jean-Louis Weber from the European Environment Agency (EEA) provided insight into a less obvious way in which EO data is helping measure how the loss of biodiversity is affecting our quality of life in terms of wealth. The current thinking is that when calculating a country's gross domestic product, a monetary value should be included to represent the costs to an ecosystem that have come about through providing various goods and services.

An extensive study on ecosystem accounts for Mediterranean wetlands is being carried out that relies on land-cover maps derived from EO data to assess economic costs to the environment. This study is part of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity report - a joint German Ministry for Environment and European Commission initiative.

ESA's Oliver Arino also spoke during the event outlining support for a number of multilateral environment agreements, including those governing biodiversity, desertification, climate change, wetland and marine projects. For instance, he explained how sea-surface temperature maps matched with hammerhead shark tagging experiments show how migration routes are linked to ocean conditions.

The wildlife migration service developed within the Diversity project relies on near real-time satellite-derived maps of oceanographic conditions such as sea-surface temperature, water quality and surface currents in the Tropical East Pacific Corridor. The different EO data products are derived using results from ESA's Medispiration and GlobColour projects.

The essence, discussions held at the UNCBD-COP9 highlighted how EO-derived data is proving invaluable in providing an insight into the change of land cover as well as changes in marine and fresh water environments. Since biological diversity is intrinsically linked to such changes, biodiversity loss can be assessed at local, regional and global scales through a broad-range of applications. As the world's population grows and biodiversity diminishes, it was also made clear that EO-data is becoming an increasingly important tool in attempts to achieve sustainable development.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMZLNNKRGF_environment_0.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>