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Terry Parr, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Meeting the international needs for biodiversity and ecosystem data: progress and challenges from a research perspective


Last month, in Nagoya, the COP 10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a new ten year Strategic Plan to meet its objectives on the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and benefit sharing. This plan will put a heavy demand on the need for monitoring data and underpinning research to support its action-oriented agenda. For example, one immediate request will be to ask GEO BON (the Group on Earth Observations global Biodiversity Observation Network) to make an assessment of global observation systems for biodiversity to address the data needs required to meet the CBD targets of 2020. In this talk I will discuss whether the global research community is in position to respond to this request and look at the implications for biodiversity monitoring and research in the UK and Europe.

I will describe some of the European and Global initiatives that link biodiversity monitoring in the UK to global needs. Of the many challenges facing national, European and Global biodiversity monitoring programmes perhaps the biggest is to meet the new observation requirements that are needed to embed biodiversity and ecosystem considerations into other sectoral policies. I will discuss the key role that the combined use of remote sensing and in situ observation systems (such as those provided by the International Long-term Ecological Research Network (ILTER)) could play in meeting this challenge through systems such as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

I will give a research perspective but concentrate on the link between monitoring, research, data and information, and knowledge transfer aspects. I will describe a few initiatives in Europe such as the EC project to establish a European Biodiversity Observation Network (EBONE) and LifeWatch (a European research infrastructure project aiming to consolidate biodiversity observations and open-up new methodological approaches to understanding biodiversity and ecosystems). I will end by discussing the challenges that face GEO BON in trying to do globally what now faces us in the UK - that is to provide a scientifically-robust framework for observations designed to detect biodiversity change and to provide assessments and forecasts, based on observations, models and integrative data analysis, of biodiversity.


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