The European Space Agency has funded scientists from University of Twente a project to monitor biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems through integration Earth Observation imagery and ecological models. The University of Twente’s Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation is the principal investigator of the project with a consortium of seven European partners.
The main objective of EO4Diversity is to predict and monitor biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems using an innovative approach that integrates for the first time the scientific strengths of high-resolution multi-sensor Earth Observation imagery and products from next-generation ecological models. The project addresses important biodiversity science gaps, including forecasting ecological degradation in order to define effective actions to reduce terrestrial biodiversity loss, as well as filling data gaps, knowledge gaps, and gaps in the data-policy link, which may lead to a disconnection of biodiversity data and policy strategies. The scientific and policy analyses, pilot demonstrations, and agenda-setting that will be done during EO4Diversity will serve as a basis for implementing the EC-ESA Biodiversity Flagship Action in 2023.
The project will focus on three Earth System Science pilots for Biodiversity:
- Ecosystem productivity and health aligned with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 with a core goal to increase the quantity of forests and improve their health and resilience;
- Ecosystem accounting, monitoring and reporting towards policy obligations that will emphasize the United Nations (UN) SDGs and the CBD post-2020 targets;
- Ecosystem resilience to invasive species responding to the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, Aichi Target 9 on Invasive alien species (IAS) and the SDG 15.8) to prevent and reduce the impact of invasive species and control or eradicate priority invasive species by 2030.
ITC scientists involved in the project proposal development include Prof. Andrew Skidmore, Dr Roshanak Darvishzadeh, Dr Margarita Huesca. The proposal was evaluated as having excellent quality and received very positive comments by the evaluation committee from the European Space Agency and European Commission.