The ECOPOTENTIAL community on Zenodo: How to find the ECOPOTENTIAL data and products?
ECOPOTENTIAL final data and products have been archived in the community “ECOPOTENTIAL: the legacy” on the Zenodo repository ( to enhance their findability [].
Zenodo can be searched directly either using a human-friendly interface from its homepage or using a machine-to-machine API ( ECOPOTENTIAL products stored in Zenodo and in other repositories and websites (e.g. publications also stored in the institutional repositories of the authors) are also searchable using the OpenAire search engine (
To facilitate findability, all products are grouped within the Zenodo ECOPOTENTIAL community. Go here to access to the ECOPOTENTIAL community and here to the instructions on how to operate on Zenodo.

The ECOPOTENTIAL Virtual Laboratory

The ECOPOTENTIAL Virtual Laboratory Platform (VLab) is a major output of the ECOPOTENTIAL project. Its development and enhancement has also been supported by other H2020 projects (EOSC-hub, EDGE, ERA-PLANET) where VLab was used to develop showcases including the ECOPOTENTIAL/ERA-PLANET joint application presented at the GEO-XVI PLENARY.
VLab is a tool for facilitating the publication and invocation of scientific workflows supporting evidence-based decision-making in ecology. It allows connecting Earth Observation data and products with knowledge from experts (scientific models and workflows) for ecological studies to be used by end users such as scientists or decision-makers in protected areas. The VLab makes data and models interoperable through data brokering and software containerization technologies.
It primarily targets modellers who want to port their model onto the Virtual Laboratory and hence sharing the knowledge generated in their project.
All the workflows, modules and models generated within ECOPOTENTIAL are accessible through the Vlab.

Modelers can access to the Vlab through this URL:

Online documentation on the VLab is available at:

Further information can be found on:
    • The dedicated youtube channel:
    • The technical Report on the Design of the ECOPOTENTIAL Virtual Laboratory:

 See also VLab factsheet

What is EODESM?
The Earth Observation Data for Ecosystem Monitoring (EODESM) presents a new approach to the classification of land cover and change by simply combining essential descriptors (EDs) of the environment retrieved from Earth observation (EO) data.
The classifications follow the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Land Cover Classification System (LCCS; Version 2) taxonomy and can be generated independent of scale and for multiple points in time. Changes can be detected by comparing land cover classifications from any two time-separated periods.  
EODESM has been used to classify land cover and change for a diverse range of protected areas across Europe but is applicable to any site globally as long as EDs with defined units or codes are available.

How do I access and use EODESM?  
EODESM is available within ECOPOTENTIAL’s Virtual Laboratory (VLab; and can be used to generate land cover and change classifications directly from the Sentinel-2 archive and for any location worldwide. The classifications are generated to FAO Level 3 (8 classes representing cultivated or semi-natural/natural terrestrial or aquatic vegetation or natural or artificial bare surfaces or water). Within the VLab, use is currently made of spectral indices to generate the Level 3 classification but the capability will be enhanced to allow determination of quantitative EDs and more detailed classifications.

Why use EODESM?  
EODESM has capacity to routinely and consistently generate maps of land cover and change without dependency on complex algorithms. The EDs used are widely recognised (e.g., canopy cover, water hydroperiod) and have standard units or codes.  Hence, the approach is straightforward to implement and outputs are easy to comprehend.
A major advantage of EODESM is that maps can be generated for any site and have a consistent taxonomy.   Land managers can therefore compare the extents of different land covers and changes that are occurring within and between protected areas across Europe.  The maps and environmental variables used for their generation can also support conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services.

If you are interested in using a standalone version of EODESM, which allows more comprehensive classifications of land cover and change, please contact Prof. Richard Lucas at Aberystwyth University (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  

For more information on EODESM, visit

See also EODESM factsheet

EODESM technical characteristics:
    • Generates consistent classification of land covers for any site globally based on the FAO LCCS-2 taxonomy, and uses EDs retrieved primarily from EO data.
    • Allows both thematic and continuous variables to be integrated, including those derived from time series (e.g., water or snow hydroperiod, vegetation phenology).
    • Integrates additional descriptors of land covers based on EDs external to the FAO LCCS taxonomy (e.g., plant species, land surface temperature).
    • Allows translation of LCCS classes to habitat and other land cover taxonomies.
    • Detects change by comparing LCCS class descriptions and EDs generated for any two points in time.
    • Provides an evidence-based approach to detect changes associated with pre-defined categories (e.g., deforestation, flooding).
    • Attributes change to potential causes and consequences and links directly to policy and land management.
    • Can integrate a wide range of EDs into the classification, no matter how derived, and can capture local knowledge.
    • Can utilize existing local to global layers representing a diverse range of EDs.
    • Is applicable at any spatial scale, and hence can be used in conjunction with a wide range of ground, airborne and spaceborne data.
    • Facilitates comparison between any two time-separated periods but uses dense time-series to focus on specific change events or processes.
    • Can be replicated with in situ data. The Earthtrack mobile App ( has been specifically designed to support retrieval of EDs and validation of land cover and change classifications generated by EODESM.
    • Is simple to use, understand and implement particularly because of the requirement for environmental variables to have defined units (e.g., meters, days, oC, %).
    • Is informative, utilizes ecological knowledge, and allows for targeted applications.

ECOPOTENTIAL produced a varied array of tools and products available to be used by protected area managers and nature conservation scientists and practitioners; Models, algorithms, web-based tools for extracting Earth Observation maps and more… in this collection of “factsheets” it is possible to find quick information about their content and applications, and the contact of the relevant partner to stay updated about their development. The factsheets list include:

Web based services and catalogues:
- the DEIMS catalogue of In Situ metadata
- the Protected Areas from Space web browser
- the ECOPOTENTIAL Virtual Laboratory (VLab)

- the software applied to the Camargue wetlands to analyse future droughts scenarios
- the EODESM software for extracting land cover maps and environmental variables from satellite data
- the gBay online platform for modeling ecosystem services (Bayesian Network)
- the SARWIND algorithm for calculating wins fields from SAR images
- the on line data services available through the VLab

- the ECOPOTENTIAL approach for defining Essential Variables for ecosystems
- the management of uncertainty in ecosystem modeling
- the method developed in HarHaNegev for assessing the anthropogenic impact in desert areas
- the use of remote sensing for detecting vegetation invasive species

Follow this link to the Factsheets page

Groundwater‐dependent ecosystems (GDEs) provide multiple ecosystem services for humankind and are globally at risk due to unsustainable groundwater extraction and climate change. Copernicus Sentinel-2 data are lending a hand in establishing these ecosystems. The Ziziphus lotus arborescent matorral in south‐east Spain, is a priority conservation habitat in the European Union (Habitat Code 5220*, Directive 92/43/EEC), which is currently highly threatened and in decline. This ecosystem is one of the few terrestrial GDEs in European drylands. Changes in the quantity, quality, and distribution of groundwater affect GDEs especially in drylands. A research performed by scientists at the Universities of Almería and Granada, in Spain, proposed the use of remote sensing methods to map the spatial distributions of shrubs and fractures as a means to identify GDEs in drylands. You can read the full article here:

The research done by ECOPOTENTIAL partner DELTARES in the Wadden Sea has been reported in the ESA website “Sentinel On Line”. It reports about the use of 3D-biogeophyiscal process-based or Bayesian Networks - which are probabilistic models - to investigate ecological structures behind shifting trends and to induce management strategies, and the importance of using Sentinel data to feed the model as they provide information at high spatial and temporal resolution . Alex Ziemba, researcher at Deltares, explains: "Data from the Copernicus Sentinels are bringing critical information, useful for various aspects of coastal monitoring – Copernicus Sentinel-1 for erosion and shoreline tracking, while Copernicus Sentinel-3 for ocean colour products."

You can read the full article here:

caption of the image:
Title: Delft-3D model gridding within the Wadden Sea
Description: An overlay of the Delft-3D model grid utilised for investigations of the Wadden Sea. The grid extends in the depth direction in 12 dynamic layers dependant upon the depth of each of the grid cells.
Copyright: Model grid generated and utilised by Deltares

Our latest newsletter is out! It presents highlights of our recent work: events we attended during the last months, the latest scientific publications, and news on the models and tools in the Virtual Laboratory. If you are interested where you can get in touch with us, you also find future events that we will attend, as well as science schools and other activities relating to our project.

Read the newsletter online or download the PDF.

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:

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:


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:


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


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 ( Furthher ECOPOTENTIAL related presentations will be hosted in other side events.

The complete programme of the side events is available at

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):

How does the ECOPOTENTIAL web-browser works? Find out at the ECOPOTENTIAL web map server instructional video here: (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:
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)!

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