Earth Observation for ecosystem assessment

The importance of Earth Observation (EO) products for ecosystem assessment and valuation is increasingly recognised as they can support defining, measuring and assessing ecosystem services of all global ecosystems.

Earth Observation (EO)

  • Earth Observation (EO) is a collective term for the analysis of the Earth by means of satellite collected data using different kinds of remote sensing techniques. The capability of satellites to repeatedly collect data over large areas provides significant capacities for standardised land cover and land use mapping as well as for landscape dynamics and land cover change analysis. EO mapping of the physical and social landscape can improve the understanding of the economic and societal benefits arising from specific ecosystems.
  • A variety of satellites and sensors provide data at various spatial and temporal resolutions, in a timely manner at different cost. New satellites such as ESA’s five Sentinels ( will provide a wealth of robust datasets with a free and open data policy.
  • EO applications are already now neither costly nor complex and are globally accessible. Therefore they are ideally suited for ecosystem service monitoring and assessment.
  • Open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and new mobile technologies allow for the easy integration of geoinformation from different sources and will enable the wide use of satellite products.