The European Space Agency (ESA) is a world leader in environmental monitoring and is now supporting the establishment of capacities for ecosystem service assessments and valuation. The G-ECO-MON project aims to extend the use of Earth observation based information for multiple applications targeting ecosystem services. A key area of interest is weaving ecosystem services in impact assessment. There is an increased recognition amongst the oil and gas industry that sustainable economic growth, including accessing new resources, depends on the ability to explore resources without adversely affecting nature. Thus, ecologic considerations are increasingly integrated into business practices. As oil and gas operations are often carried out in remote areas and can cover a large extent, remote sensing is a valuable, economic tool to access the status of ecosystems and their services.

The G-ECO-MON project highlights through demonstration studies, spanning the range of ecosystem services, how stakeholders can receive customised, best-practice earth observation services that meet their operational needs and conditions. The aim is to show how nature can be valued from space to support business decision-making and national accounting schemes. To cover the full range of potential applications, ESA will fund a demonstration study in the Oil and Gas sector. The GECOMON project consortium is combining world-class expertise in Earth Observation services customised for land, coastal and marine ecosystems together with in-depth knowledge on the needs of corporate, investor, NGO and governmental users and will provide you with Earth Observation based products and services, targeting the assessment of ecosystem services.

The demonstration project will need to describe the ecosystem service being analysed (e.g. food production, water filtration, pollination, tourism) and normally include the following as part of the assessment:

Drivers of ecosystem service change The key agents of change of ecosystem services provision are over consumption, pollution, climate change, invasive species, and land use/land use change
Supply of ecosystem services The ecosystem traits, functions and delivery of services at the place of production
Flows of ecosystem services The flows of services from production site to user
Demand for ecosystem services The reliance upon and demand for ecosystem services by different users

In addition, the demonstration study must:

  • Complete the online application form below by the 31st of March 2014 - no exceptions will be made
  • Be an existing project
  • Have appropriate stakeholder participation (e.g. finance, corporate, NGO, research)
  • Involve EO applications that are technically feasible
  • Be supported by the applicant organization through a legally binding contract with the European Space Agency or GeoVille that required the applicant organization to help design, validate and evaluate the EO application that is produced by the consortium. We expect this will require approximately 5 working days (perhaps divided among different people) from April 2014 to December 2014

Finally, while it is not a requirement, G-ECO-MON wishes to maximize the budget it has available across the broadest number of demonstration studies so any offer by applicants to contribute financially will be valued in the selection process.

If you work with ecosystem service assessments and believe that Earth observation can support your project, please apply here for a demonstration study.