Hatfield leading new ESA ecosystem restoration initiative to develop open Earth observation tools for assessment and monitoring
Mar 30, 2023
Ecosystem Restoration is critical to reverse biodiversity loss and is an essential element of nature-based solutions (NBS) for climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, and disaster risk reduction. Ecosystem restoration is needed on a large scale to achieve the United Nations (UN) sustainable development agenda and as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021−2030). The recent COP15 for the Convention on Biodiversity identified an ambitious target to have restoration completed or underway on at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems.
Effective planning, monitoring, and assessment of ecosystem restoration is required to evaluate ecosystem functions and to determine whether it is having the desired impact. Ecosystem restoration investments must be data-driven, requiring historical information on ecosystem disturbance and degradation, to enable planning of interventions, which are then monitored for their impact.
The European Space Agency (ESA) [https://www.linkedin.com/company/european-space-agency/] recognizes the huge opportunity for satellite Earth Observation (EO) applications for ecosystem restoration, to meet the needs for regular, repeat measures of restoration processes over long time periods covering large, often remote, areas. Taking a lead in this area, ESA established the Pioneer Earth Observation apPlications for the Environment – Ecosystem Restoration (PEOPLE-ER) project, and selected Hatfield to lead its implementation. Partners include the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS) at the University of British Columbia and VTT Research (Finland).
The PEOPLE-ER project addresses the needs of forest landscape restoration and wetland restoration initiatives around the world by developing and demonstrating open science toolsets targeting vegetation recovery and trends and wetland and wetness trends. PEOPLE-ER leverages innovative cloud computing platform solutions, focusing on ready-to-use operational platform services and portability. The toolsets will be published following open science FAIR principles.
Demonstrations will be completed in five countries across different forest and wetlands biomes, including Canada, Central African Republic, Finland, Vietnam, and Romania. Our Early Adopters for the demonstrations are African Parks (South Africa), IUCN Viet Nam (Vietnam), Luke (Finland), Society for Ecosystem Restoration in Northern British Columbia (Canada), and the National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry (INCDS).
PEOPLE-ER project outputs will include algorithms available via public code repositories, notebooks for implementation in cloud platforms, user documentation, and scientific publications.
For more information, see PEOPLE ER – Earth observation for Ecosystem Restoration (people-er.info).