Remote sensing of EBVs for global change monitoring

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstractpeer-review


Abstract of keynote speech.

Many of the key challenges that face humanity are due to the impacts of global change on biodiversity and the stability of ecosystems and natural services that they provide. In this presentation, I will discuss the process and progress in using remote sensing for monitoring of essential biodiversity variables to predict the consequences of changes in the global drivers of biodiversity. Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBVs) are defined as the key variables required to observe, understand, and report on change in the state of biodiversity. They sit as a layer between raw biodiversity observations and the biodiversity indicators used in policy, such as the indicators measuring progress towards the CBD Aichi Targets. EBVs provide key guidance to the observation system in terms of what it should measure, and their intermediate position between observations and indicators isolates those indicators from changes in observation technology. Satellite remote sensing can play a crucial role in the measurement of EBVs, particularly for a subset of EBVs which we denote by RS-EBVs. Largely, this is because the global and periodic nature of satellite remote sensing greatly simplifies the acquisition of the needed observations, making RS an ideal method for understanding change at national as well as other scales. Using the EBV framework as a baseline two GEO BON workshops were held to discuss current and future satellite missions and their ability to provide observations useful for generating EBVs. The goal was to create a list of candidate RS-EBVs by carefully considering, amongst others, factors such as an ability to meet policy needs, priority, feasibility, implementation status, spatial resolution and temporal frequency. The list published in Skidmore et al. (2015) contains RS-EBVs that are continuous and biophysical such as leaf area index and species traits, as well as others that use somewhat arbitrary class boundaries, such as land cover and disturbed areas. Also, like some ECVs, a number of RS-EBVs are actually groups of related variables that describe a phenomenon of interest (e.g., plant traits, phenology, disturbance). I will explore progress and challenges in using state-of-the-art remote sensing to retrieve EBVs from remote sensing. With this list as a starting point, the next steps in the process can begin, with the ultimate goal of putting a plan in place to acquire the needed RS observations to generate the related EBVs. The current approach for this process is described. The key organizations for this are the CBD, IPBES, CEOS, and GEO BON, with GEO playing a facilitative role, however the broader biodiversity community is also very important. A key goal is to meet as many as possible of the reporting needs that CBD signatory countries have for the Aichi targets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal change and biodiversity
Subtitle of host publicationintegrating mechanisms of interactions, feedbacks and scale: URPP Global Change and Biodiversity conference: program and abstract book
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventURPP Global Change and Biodiversity Conference (2016) - Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland
Duration: 28 Aug 20161 Sep 2016


ConferenceURPP Global Change and Biodiversity Conference (2016)


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