How do we want Satellite Remote Sensing to support biodiversity conservation globally?


A publication by Pettorelli, Owen and Duncan asks “How do we want Satellite Remote Sensing to support biodiversity conservation globally?” in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

from the summary: 1. Essential Biodiversity Variable, Natural Capital, Biodiversity Indicator and Ecosystem Service are four concepts that underpin the most popular frameworks currently considered for helping to coordinate and structure biodiversity monitoring efforts worldwide. Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) has considerable potential to inform these initiatives. To date, however, discussions on the role of SRS in supporting these frameworks have mostly evolved independently; tend to be led by different groups; sometimes target slightly different scales; and are likely to reach different audiences. Because of this, there is some confusion among environmental managers and policymakers as to what the potential of SRS is or whether there is prospect in considering and promoting the use of satellite data for biodiversity conservation. 2. Here, we provide a brief overview of the role of SRS to date in informing these frameworks. Through a case study focused on the Sahara Desert ecosystem, we also demonstrate the current potential for SRS-based methodologies to support conservation in data-deficient areas and discuss the relative applicability of SRS-based metrics to each of these frameworks. 3. The relevance and use of SRS across the four frameworks are clearly variable, due to differences and ambiguity in definitions, and due to differences in monitoring priorities. Our case study illustrates the particularly high potential for SRS approaches to provide key information relevant to the Biodiversity Indicators framework in desert ecosystems; it also identifies SRS-based metrics relevant to all frameworks. 4. Altogether, this work highlights how more dialogue is required within the biodiversity-monitoring community for SRS to reach its full potential in conservation. In particular, agreement on what is needed in priority, given the realm of what is possible, will be of paramount importance to developing SRS-based products that are used by policymakers and international conventions.

Pettorelli, N., Owen, H. J. F. and Duncan, C. (2016), How do we want Satellite Remote Sensing to support biodiversity conservation globally?. Methods Ecol Evol, 7: 656–665. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12545