We are happy to announce the release of the second edition of the book: “SPACED: USING EARTH OBSERVATION TO PROTECT NATURAL LANDSCAPES”, edited by Cristina Domingo and Joan Maso (CREAF). The book describes how Earth observation is used for monitoring and studying ecosystems in the 24 protected areas investigated in the H2020 project ECOPOTENTIAL. It describes a collection of scenarios where Earth observation data is essential, accompanied by visual maps covering the whole extension of each protected area. The main purpose of this volume is to illustrate the capabilities of remote sensing and how this technique is being applied in many ways to monitor several different aspects of ecosystems and environmental conditions. Each type of ecosystem (mountain, arid or coastal and marine) presents different challenges that are addressed through different Earth observation and data analysis approaches by the ECOPOTENTIAL researchers.
We trust that this book illustrates the extent to which Earth observations by satellites have become a crucial tool for obtaining a global view of natural ecosystems, as well as for monitoring ongoing changes and supporting knowledge-based conservation and management strategies.

You can download the book here.

Our project has made it on the Sentinel news website of ESA once again. The article features Samaria National Park on Crete, Greece, where we use Sentinel1 and 2 imagery to map the habitat for species of high conservation value, as endemic lizards. The earth observation data are combined with species observation data to determine areas in the National Park that are more likely to provide suitable habitat for the lizards, through species distribution modelling. The results can then be used by the park management to improve decision-making as well as monitoring on the ground.

 

Read the article here.

All ECOPOTENTIAL protected areas encapsulate fascinating stories about their past, present and future, which fuel the project’s research. Telling those stories and sharing  passion for the work we are doing is one of the goals of ECOPOTENTIAL. Now you have the chance to learn more about Har HaNegev Reserve in Israel through a new storymap developed by project partner UNEP-WCMC.

The Negev Desert provides habitat for very diverse plants and animals, while humans have also been travelling and living in the desert for thousands of years. This can create challenges: “Sustainability - or meeting the development needs of people without undermining the integrity of the ecological systems that make human life possible and worthwhile - is the most challenging task of the 21st century“ explains Daniel Orenstein, Associate Professor at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology the background of ECOPOTENTIAL’s work. “In this storymap, we introduce the amazing biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Negev Desert, alongside its colorful history and current status of human development in the region, to reflect our truly interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research in search of sustainability for the region, its biodiversity and its people.”

Explore the storymap here: Protecting Arid Ecosystems in Populated Areas

Background information: Har HaNegev

Picture Credit: Haim Singer

The mapping of natural and semi-natural habitats is increasingly required in environmental policies, as well as in spatial planning, land management, and the designation of protected areas. Habitats are effective indicators of biodiversity and their periodic and consistent monitoring, in terms of extent, status, and changes can provide an effective tool for policy makers engaged in the conservation plans. This is in accordance with the GEO strategies planned for 2016–2025 period and the attainment of SDG 15 for preserving biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability.

Remote sensing data and techniques offer significant opportunities for long-term habitats monitoring because of the availability of a large amount of multi-temporal data from past and current spaceborne missions with continuity provided by planned future missions. Routinely, mapping can be generated and intra-annual and inter-annual changes quantified providing synoptic spatial views of expansive landscapes and regions from the integration of remote sensed (RS) data with in situ and ancillary data.

Due to the great relevance and interest in this theme, there are a great deal of questions to be answered concerning, for example, the best methods and standards to use in acquiring and processing data, habitat classification terms and systems, as well as the reliability of the maps produced depending on the scale adopted, this Special Issue is inviting manuscripts on the following topics:

  • RS data and techniques for identification, mapping, and assessment of different habitat types, their conditions and/or conservation, at different spatial and temporal scales;
  • Remote sensing and habitats characterization for different marine and terrestrial environments, from coastal areas to mountain regions, from large, homogenous, and spatially continuous units to highly fragmented, heterogeneous and spatially discontinuous landscapes (e.g., mosaics);
  • Satellite time series analysis for long-term habitat mapping;
  • Habitat change maps from RS data;
  • Integration of RS data with in situ data and expert knowledge;
  • Habitat taxonomies and semantics in a framework of integration of RS data and in situ data;
  • Indicators from RS data for the habitat modeling.

Guest Editors:

Dr. Cristina Tarantino (CNR)

Dr. Maria Adamo (CNR)

Dr. Valeria Tomaselli (CNR)

 

Deadline for manuscript submission: 31 January 2021

Find out more: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/special_issues/habitat_mapping

Ecosystem models are fundamental for a deeper understanding of associated spatiotemporal dynamics. They also support the forecasting of ecological responses to future climate and land use changes, thus supporting relevant decision-making processes. Ecosystem modelling is challenging, given the complexity of natural ecosystems, since models need to consider several levels of environmental predictors and interplaying mechanistic processes.

 Earth observation (EO) data and methods serve as a cost-efficient alternative to in-situ data collection at numerous spatial and temporal scales. EO data are now an essential component in ecological modelling. For example, EO data are used to (i) provide variable estimation to implement ecological models; (ii) test, validate and verify the predictions of ecological models; and (iii) update or adjust process model predictions. These modelling and implementation challenges are investigated by several international projects and initiatives, including ECOPOTENTIAL, in work package 6, EO-based Ecosystem Modelling, and the GEO Global Ecosystem Initiative.

 Motivated by the strong integration and new capabilities, this Special Issue is inviting manuscripts on the following topics:

 - direct comparisons of EO with in-situ data;

 - assessment of the added value of EO to ecosystem models;

 - interoperability topics, for example spatial and temporal scale issues, derived from the incorporation of EO in ecosystem models;

 - uncertainty propagation of EO-derived inputs in ecosystem models;

 - benefits by the EO assimilation and side-effects in the designed processing chains;

 - adjustments in ecosystem models to better integrate EO inputs;

 - the new capacity being developed and explored by the installation and operation of the Data and Information Access Services (DIASs).

Guest Editors:

Dr. Ioannis Manakos (CERTH)

Prof. Duccio Rocchini (University of Trento)

Prof. Giorgos Mountrakis (State University of New York)

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020

Find out more: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/special_issues/ecosystem_modelling_RS

 

Our project’s work in Gran Paradiso National Park has featured on the Sentinel news website of ESA. The article explores how we use Sentinel2 images in ECOPOTENTIAL to map the changes in mountain grasslands and snow cover in Italy’s oldest National Park. Both earth observation and field data feed into analyses to determine how the extent of the grasslands changed and which drivers cause this, with the aim to then develop ways to preserve crucial habitat for Alpine ibex, chamois and other species. The results of this joint work by the park managers and scientific staff helps inform decisions on how to manage the Protected Area in the future.

 

Read the complete article here

After Split, Thessaloniki, Chania, Dubrovnik, and Prague, this year's SPLIT RS is taking us to Bolzano, Italy. It runs from June 3-8, 2019 and is hosted by ECOPOTENTIAL partner Eurac Research. The school focusing on "Environmental monitoring in mountain areas and land-cover dynamics" covers different types of remote sensing, including a variety of sensors, as well as different methodological approaches, and includes a field trip to the Dolomites.

Registration for the 6th SPLIT Remote Sensing Summer School is now open. The school invites both professionals and graduate students to register for six days of intensive learning. SPLIT RS covers the participation fee for two graduate students from Central or Eastern Europe based on their needs (see Registration tab on the website). Deadline to apply for coverage of the fees is 15 March 2019.

Learn more: http://splitremotesensing.com

 

Insights from Earth Observation of Protected Areas

On Sept 27th 2018  ECOPOTENTIAL  has been presented at the European Parliament during the event "Science for Post 2020 Environmental Targets - Insights from Earth Observation of Protected Areas, co-organised by ECOPOTENTIAL, IUCN and UNEP/WCMC, and hosted by MEPs Ricardo Serrão Santos and Sirpa Pietikäinen. The event brought to the attention of the Parliament the findings and recommendations on the conservation of natural ecosystems and the management of European protected areas that emerged in the ECOPOTENTIAL project, with the aim of contributing to providing the scientific knowledge needed to define the future EU policy framework on the conservation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.

The position expressed by the ECOPOTENTIAL project has been presented during the meeting as “back ground document”, now made available in this booklet entitled:   “Science for post 2020 Environmental targets: Insights from Earth Observation of Protected Areas”. This document represents the view of the ECOPOTENTIAL project on the use of Earth Observations for improving nature conservation policies.

Here is the document

SEE ALSO:
http://www.ecopotential-project.eu/news-meetings/2015-10-16-13-48-29/239-science-for-post-2020-environmental-targets-insights-from-earth-observation-of-protected-areas.html

ECOPOTENTIAL will be present at the GEO week with the side event: “Detecting and Analysing Changes and Future Scenarios in Protected Areas: from ECOPOTENTIAL to GEO ECO”  (Monday 29 October 2018 room C2:- 11:00-13:00) chaired by Palma Blonda (CNR) and will contribute to the EUROGEOSS Stand with posters and videos (www.ecopotential-project.eu/outreach/video.html). Furthher ECOPOTENTIAL related presentations will be hosted in other side events.


The complete programme of the side events is available at www.earthobservations.org/geo15.php?t=side_events

You can download the presentations here:GEO XV Plenary – ECOPOTENTIAL_GEO ECO workshop

Pisa, 28 September, 2018

The 2018 edition of the Bright Festival, the Tuscan edition of the European Researchers’ night festival, has been a great success at the CNR research campus in Pisa, Italy. The programme included laboratories for kids, guided tours to the research facilities, seminars, concerts and a show alternating theatre pieces and “TED-like” talks. One of them was an ECOPOTENTIAL related talk by Silvia Giamberini entitled: A Journey from Sky to Land”, about changes in ecosystems in the Anthropocene and the use of Earth’s observations for the study of natural ecosystems in protected areas. Please, you can find here the related link (in Italian): https://youtu.be/sziandB9TME

How does the ECOPOTENTIAL web-browser works? Find out at the ECOPOTENTIAL web map server instructional video here:  http://www.ecopotential-project.eu/outreach/video.html (video n. 10). The video has been released to be shown at the XV GEO Plenary Meeting in Kyoto, Japan, Oct 29th – Nov 2nd. It shows the data available and functionalities of the web map server archive which delivers all satellite data and metadata produced within the project. From the web browser, data can be displayed, analysed and directly downloaded in several GIS formats.

 

By Ioannis Manakos (on behalf of the Organizing Committee)

Find here the report of the last joint EARSeL LULC and NASA LCLUC Workshop, held in Chania inJuly: http://lulc.earsel.org/workshop/2018-lulc-ws/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Report_EARSeL-NASA_LCLUC_WS_Chania2018_f.pdf.
The workshop has also hosted the ECOPOTENTIAL photo exhibition where, beside the 200+ conference participants, it has been visited by over 500 people per day.

 

Stuttgart, 13 September 2018  

We are pleased to announce that Joan Masó received the Open Geospatial Consortium OGC’s 2018 Gardels Award. It is also a success of ECOPOTENTIAL project.
The award has been received by Joan on 13 September 2018, at the meeting of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical Committee in Stuttgart, Germany. The Gardels Award is presented each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing OGC's vision of fully integrating geospatial information into the world's information systems. Congratulations to Joan Masó awarded the 2018 Gardels Award for being ‘the hardest working OGC member out there.’
As already reported in the announcing email, “in all this work, Joan has demonstrated the principles, humility, and dedication in promoting spatial technologies to address the needs of humanity that characterized Kenn Gardels’ career and life. Joan exemplifies the highest values of the OGC.
Mark Reichardt, President and CEO of OGC, commented: “Each year, one member representative of the Consortium is acknowledged by his or her peers and the OGC Board of Directors for their personal excellence, unwavering commitment, and substantial contributions to the OGC mission. Congratulations to Joan Maso on his selection for this award. Kenn would be proud.””
Congratulations (again and again)!

http://mail.opengeospatial.org/lists/lt.php?tid=fR4DB1IHAlNUAh1QUA0HSFADBFIZCQIFDBkNXlNVCwcMUVQABAFKUFIBBVIHDwdIUFQEBBkEAVMMGQBVUwEVVAJQBgcGUAdRAgEGGVALVlJdVgcEGVIJBlQZDQcFUhUPBFsIGVZbBQZTUQkBBwpTBw

 

Bruxelles, 27 September 2018

ECOPOTENTIAL has been presented at the EUROPEAN Parliament during the event "Science for Post 2020 Environmental Targets - Insights from Earth Observation of Protected Areas", on Sept 27th.
The event has been chaired by MEPs Ricardo Serrão Santos and Sirpa Pietikäinen and has been organized in collaboration with the NGO EBCD, which serves as the secretariat of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development of the European Parliament.
The event brought to the attention of Parliament the findings and recommendations on the conservation of natural ecosystems and the management of European protected areas that emerged in the ECOPOTENTIAL project, with the aim of contributing to providing the scientific knowledge needed to define the future EU policy framework on the conservation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
The project coordinator, Antonello Provenzale, and Fiona Danks, Senior Programme Officer for Science of UN Environment/WCMC, presented the project and recommendations to update the European legislation on the management of natural ecosystems based on the results of research activities.
In the discussion following the presentation, the sustainability and effectiveness of European research on biodiversity has been discussed: Possible actions may be the application of the ECOPOTENTIAL methodologies to other protected areas and in particular to the network of NATURA 2000  sites, the need of the COPs on biodiversity and climate to work together and the need of improving the knowledge transfer to policy makers, to protected areas managers and to the wider society, also delivering training and improving the integration of data bases and the link to other networks.
Also, the importance of the contribution of ECOPOTENTIAL to the EUROGEOSS Initiative has been highlighted.

Here you can read the policy brief background document

 

Lingen (Germany), 25 September 2018

Advances in nature conservation using Earth observation data concern the whole society! On 25th of September, Osnabrück University of Applied  Sciences and IHK Osnabrück - Emsland - Grafschaft Bentheim hosted a short presentation event on scientific projects from the region Osnabrück/Lingen (Germany) and their implications for enterprises and the society.
ECOPOTENTIAL was presented by Niels Hellwig. Reference to this event (in German):
https://www.hs-osnabrueck.de/de/nachrichten/2018/10/wissensvorsprung-2018-20-lehrende-der-hochschule-geben-auf-dem-campus-lingen-einblicke-in-ihre-them/#

 

Brussels, EU Parliament (Members’ salon), 22 November 2018

The new COPERNICUS4REGIONS publication will be launched on November 22nd 2018 at the Members’ salon of the EU Parliament in Brussels.
The publication collects success stories about the use of Copernicus data, and Sentinel data in particular, for concrete needs of regional policy making and/or enforcement, ideally on regional responses to EU directives. It describes sound and mature EO-based solutions that effectively respond toregional challenges. four ECOPOTENTIAL – related articles, namely about the use of Earth Observation in the EODESM System and for the management of the Gran Paradiso NP (IT), the Wadden Sea (NL) and Samaria NP (GR) protected areas, have been selected and included  in the COPERNICUS4REGIONS book.

 

Birmingham, 4-7 September 2018

The UK National Earth Observation Conference 2018 – hosted by the Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Society; the National Centre for Earth Observation and the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation – took place in Birmingham Edgbaston from 4th – 7th September.
The conference was focused around Earth Observation science, technology and applications Into the Future. The programme included exhibitions and poster sessions, a school conference (7th September), plus plenary and parallel sessions.
The NCEO, CEOI and RSPSoc hosted the UK National Earth Observation Conference from 4-7 September at Birmingham University, with the topic “Earth Observation into the future”. The declared aim has been to deliver a conference which attracts a significant gathering of the UK EO community across research, government and industry. It is clear the involvement of the Earth Observation community in planning the content of the conference, and designed sessions to encompass all aspects of Earth Observation – science, technology, and applications.
Some ECOPOTENTIAL project poster were presented; they coverered the project background and structure, and included three case studies, around seasonal wetlands, nitrogen deposition and freshwater catchments.

Gran Paradiso National Park., 4-7 September 2018

Gran Paradiso National Park successfully organised a training course on the use of EODESM (Earth Observation Data for Ecosystem Monitoring), the web-based system aimed to automatic land cover classification from Remote Sensing data, based on the FAO classification system.  The course has been taught by the ECOPOTENTIAL researcher prof. Richard Lucas.
The course was aimed to train on the use of the EODESM system the Gran Paradiso technical staff, and it was based on hands-on training + one field trip for testing the EODESM mobile app for on-site land cover classification, which can also be used for “ground-trouthing” the satellite-based classification.

From October 25th to November 4th, the 16th edition of the Genoa Science Festival, the most important Science Festival in Italy, will host the H2020 ECOPOTENTIAL photo exhibition, with the title: "Uno sguardo dal cielo - I cambiamenti degli ecosistemi visti dai satellelliti" (“A glimpse from the Sky – Ecosystem Changes from Satellites”). The ECOPOTENTIAL photo exhibition, already displaied at the European Parliament and in other locations in Europe, shows how climate and anthropic pressures affect natural ecosystems in 24 among the most important protected areas in Europe and beyond, and the research done in the project. Beautiful pictures and satellite images illustrate how researchers and protected areas managers are working together to study and preserve natural ecosystems.
European protected areas represent a priceless heritage: they are open-air laboratories that allow to study and enjoy the few poorly anthropized ecosystems still remaining. Often hotspots  of the changes taking place on our planet, natural ecosystems record what happens to vegetation, soil, ice, lakes and rivers’ bottom, and animal populations.
New Earth Observation systems allow to detect these changes with unprecedented frequency, resolution and spatial amplitude. These are the ESA Sentinel missions, supporting the European Copernicus programme, the most ambitious Earth Observation system ever realized. About 50 partners of the largest EU project on ecosystems - ECOPOTENTIAL - analyse Sentinel data to understand how natural ecosystems are changing as a result of climate change, pollution and human activities. The Alpine forests are changing because of a beetle attacking the bark of spruces; the glaciers are retreating; trees are replacing abandoned pastures, creating possible problems for wild ungulates and generating different equilibria.
Satellite data allow to detect these changes by measuring variables such as vegetation distribution, chlorophyll, snow cover, flooded surface, soil humidity and temperature, glacier extent, land use, providing information to understand causes and propose appropriate conservation strategies.
More information at: http://www.festivalscienza.eu/site/en/home.html and http://www.festivalscienza.it/site/home/programma/uno-sguardo-dal-cielo.html

 

Brussels, 5-7 November 2018

The SWOS Project Wetlands are hotspots of biodiversity, home to more than 100,000 freshwater species, provide invaluable ecosystem services, such as regulating water availability and quality and food for millions of people. They also absorb shocks from natural events and regulate the climate through carbon storage. Despite all this they are one of the world’s fastest declining ecosystems. Ignorance and misunderstanding of their role therefore results in limited coverage of wetlands in policies and management practices. Information on wetlands is often sparse and difficult to find or access. The  project fills the information gap, generating information on wetland ecosystems using the new possibilities offered by free satellite data.

In this context, we would like to invite you to , one a Training Workshop presenting a unique opportunity to familiarise yourself with SWOS and the SWOS portal in practical user workshops and the other a Final Conference discussing the current trends affecting wetlands and the benefits of earth observation and SWOS to wetland managers, policy-makers and scientists.

What’s the Training Workshop about?5-6 November: a workshop on SWOS and the SWOS portal in which participants can familiarise themselves with the various aspects of SWOS in an interactive and dynamic ‘World Cafe’ format. The purpose of the training workshop is to teach users how to apply and work with satellite data for wetland monitoring, restoration and management, how to use the SWOS service components (maps and indicators, software tools and the portal) and to demonstrate how to integrate SWOS products into selected service cases (e.g. Ramsar or SDG 6.6.1 reporting).The workshop will offer different training sessions according to participants’ different levels of pre-existing knowledge and tasks that the participants have to fulfil within their user organisation. The workshop will offer several sessions, from how to find satellite data to training on indicators and use cases, including nomenclatures, metadata, software and user portal functions.

Why attend? Learn new skills in wetland satellite observation and receive guidance from experts on using the SWOS portal tailored to you based on your prior knowledge. Engage with experts familiar with the challenges to wetland management and the role of earth observation, free satellite data and SWOS in providing evidence for appropriate policy solutions.

What’s the Final conference about?7 November: a full-day conference on the current threats and trends affecting wetlands and the role of SWOS in filling the information gap on wetlands as well as fact-based evidence for appropriate policy responses. The conference will draw speakers from the worlds of science, policy and wetland management.

Why attend? Brush up your knowledge on wetland science, observation and management. Meet policy-makers, managers and scientists engaged with wetland observation and management. Contribute to the debate on wetland management and earth observation for the protection of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Register Now!

Contact

Kathrin Weise | Jena-Optronik GmbH Otto-Eppenstein-Str. 3, 07745 Jena| Phone +49 3641 200160| Fax +49 3641 200220 | email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.swos-service.eu