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Terrestrial ecosystem monitoring in EU development-assistance priority regions

Objective

Specific Objectives:
1. To contribute to improve land management & to assist EC funded aid projects in Africa by: 1.1 mapping the areas subject to land degradation: The information content of the GLC2000 land cover map (ref FP V), will be improved by including the mapping of small water bodies (African continent) and by increasing the map scale for some selected regions. Medium resolution imagery from the European system ENVISAT-MERIS (200 m) will be exploited to improve the characterization of agricultural lands in African regions experiencing land degradation (semi- arid and sub-humid regions). 1.2 assessing disturbance by fire: the GLC2000 Land Cover and GBA2000 Burnt area maps will be merged and statistics derived, with particular attention given to disturbance by fire in protected areas and to emissions (GHG & aerosols) from biomass burning. 1.3 monitoring the rainforests and humid ecosystems and improving the management of their biodiversity. A detailed characterisation of key protected areas managed by EU-funded projects, as well as a regional integration of biodiversity studies from the various EU-funded biodiversity projects will be performed. 1.4 contributing to the transfer of technology to African institutions. In the context of the EC funded PUMA project (Preparation for the Use of METEOSAT second generation data in Africa) a technical support will be given to DGs DEV and AIDCO for the preparation of the PUMA software ITT and for the technical supervision of the contract;
2. Develop remote sensing based methods for monitoring forest cover changes and drivers for key-areas in Russia, in co-operation with Russian partners by: developing a methodology for the detection of forest cover changes related to logging at different scale and based on satellite images of different spatial resolution;
3. To develop a forest cover database for assessing the forest conditions in Eurasia and estimating their contribution to the global carbon budget by: 3.1 compiling an Atlas of Russian forests and a radar mosaic of Eurasia: The Eurasian component of the GLC2000 land cover map will be improved by including the mapping of wetlands or swamped forests at an increased map scale. A radar mosaic, derived from medium resolution (100m) JERS data for the year 1997, will contribute to this activity. 3.2 developing methods for forest structural and bio-physical parameters extraction: the GLC2000 map will be used as a priori information to drive the parameters (e.g. biomass, crown texture, discontinuities) extraction process from multi-resolution radar data sets. 3.3 assessing disturbance by fire and carbon emissions from fire cycle in boreal forests: the Land Cover and Burnt area maps developed during FP V will be integrated in a single spatial geo-referenced database. The resulting information will be used to assess the fire disturbance to the boreal forest ecosystem and to estimate the fire disturbance contribution to carbon fluxes through the development of biophysical carbon flux models for the main Eurasian boreal forest types (or biomes). 3.4 developing a "hot spot" stratification and a sampling approach to estimate carbon fluxes from remote sensing data. Based on i) the Atlas of Russian forests, ii)the map of wetlands and the estimation of forest biophysical parameters, iii)the feasibility to detect and assess logging activities and iv) the fire disturbance contribution to carbon fluxes, an approach will be proposed to estimate carbon fluxes;
4. Contribute to the development of emission inventories. The results of the Global Burnt Area - 2000 initiative will be made available in a suitable format to the Action 2212 "Trade-offs between climate and air pollution policies" of the ISA "Climate Change". It will contribute to the updating of the emission inventory (from biomass burning) which is planned by this Action in the context of the Priority 'Global Change". Contribute to the GMES process by: providing a scientific support to partner institutions, which have an operational mandate in Europe in the field of low resolution satellite observations for terrestrial environmental monitoring. A set of methodologies developed in FP V for environmental monitoring will be packaged in such a way that they will be transferred to partner institutions (in particular FAO, VITO and ESA-ESRIN);
5. Contribute to the GMES process by: providing a scientific support to partner institutions, which have an operational mandate in Europe in the field of low resolution satellite observations for terrestrial environmental monitoring. A set of methodologies developed in FP V for environmental monitoring will be packaged in such a way that they will be transferred to partner institutions (in particular FAO, VITO and ESA-ESRIN). Anticipated milestones and schedule Key milestones and schedule April 2003 August 2003 December 2003 Replacement non-statutory staff leaving Software for processing MERIS data Report on fire disturbance to protected areas in Africa Database on areas burnt in Africa (in 2000) Feasibility study: detection of logging in Eurasian forests Improved medium scale land cover map of Africa SW for processing JERS SAR data Multiscale forest cover map of Eurasia Improved forest map for selected regions in SE Asia Fire database for the Eurasian boreal forests (2000) Feasibility study: estimation of C fluxes in Eurasian region.
Planned Deliverables 1.1.1 SW for processing MERIS data. 1.1.2 Land cover map of Africa. 1.2.1 Database on areas and biomass burnt in Africa (year 2000). 1.2.2 Report on burnt area for EU managed protected areas. 1.3.1 Map of wetlands and rainforest. 1.3.2 Report on protected areas managed by EU-funded projects. 1.3.3 Database on EU-funded biodiversity projects. 1.4 Report on PUMA Software Invitation To Tender;
2.1 Feasibility study for the detection of logging in Eurasian boreal forests;
3.1.1 Multi-scale Forest map of Eurasia. 3.1.2 Software for processing JERS data. 3.2 Feasibility study. 3.3.1 Fire database (year 2000). 3.3.2 Carbon emissions from fire disturbance 3.4 Feasibility study for estimating carbon fluxes in the Eurasian region;
4.1 Database on areas burnt globally (year 2000);
5.1 Prototype software for processing and analysis of SPOT-VGT imagery, for assessing the vegetation cover conditions and for mapping burnt areas.
Summary of the Action:

This Action on terrestrial ecosystem monitoring will provide a long-term picture of the conditions in ecosystems identified according to the priorities of EU aid, development and international environmental policies: monitoring of land management issues in Africa, forest resources assessment and sustainable forest development in Russia. It will also contribute to the updating of the biomass burning emission inventory in co-operation with Action 2212. These activities hinge on the use of the latest advances in remote sensing science and access to data acquired by various Earth Observing satellites to characterize the state and evolution of the vegetation cover. The action contributes to the GMES process by providing a scientific support to partner institutions, which have an operational mandate in Europe in the field of low resolution satellite observations for terrestrial environmental monitoring.

Rationale:
Sustainable development must be based on reliable assessments of ecosystem condition, on a clear understanding of the processes at work, on the identification of the nature, location and timing of changes, and on assessing the impact of policies put in place to preserve natural resources. Information on changes in land and forest resources are needed to document their effects as a driver of global change and to assist European Community development policy and EC funded aid projects in the face of global change. The information will also help the EC to meet legal obligations arising from Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research

Coordinator

Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Address
Via E. Fermi 1
21020 Ispra
Italy