A new Earth Observation based Geographic Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Service
Haas, Eva Maria1; Hoffmann, C.1; Eyre, C.2; Ledwith, M.3; Hedley, J.4; Barker, K.4; Lyon, D.5; Woods, M.5; Finisdore, J.5

Earth observation based mapping of the physical and social landscape can improve the understanding of the economic and societal benefits arising from specific ecosystems. The ESA G-ECO-MON - Geographic Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Service project is intended to show that Earth Observation (EO) applications are neither costly nor complex and are globally accessible. Therefore they are ideally suited for ecosystem service monitoring and assessment. By supporting better understanding of ecosystem services, EO applications support the management of natural capital and the wider environment. EO can thus make an important contribution to both organisations as well as society at large.

The project is extending the use of EO based information for multiple applications. These could include environmental impact assessments, supply chain management, ecosystem management, payment for ecosystem services, natural wealth accounting, emergency management or public policy. This is being achieved through an assessment of the market for EO applications carried out by an international project consortium combining world-class expertise in EO services customised for land, coastal and marine ecosystems together with in-depth knowledge on the needs of corporate, investor, NGO and governmental users. The project is also reviewing the requirements of other stakeholders such as the developers of standards, environmental research community, and the verification community.

In the first phase of the project the potential applications of EO products are being assessed through individual interviews and workshops. In the second phase the project will demonstrate through case studies how stakeholders can receive customised, best-practice EO services that meet their operational needs and conditions for ecosystem service assessment; these services will be assessed in terms of their impact, benefits and utility. The project will also support the integration of EO based information in standardised models and evaluation protocols.