Conservation policy and the measurement of forests

This report defines the disparity between various satellite-based measurements of global forest cover.  www.nature.com

GR:  Remote (satellite) sensing has been unable to reach a consensus on the extent of Earth’s forests.  Far better methods of forest mapping are available.  On-the-ground surveys using the 1970 UNESCO vegetation classification would give us maps at much less cost, and the maps would include far more information than the satellite maps.  Moreover, who minds strolling through the woods with a clipboard?  NASA, park the rockets and buy some hiking boots.  Do it now.

Help wanted on tracking biodiversity from space

“Conservation organisations and space agencies are being called on to join forces to decide how changes in biodiversity can be monitored globally. What, exactly, should be measured by satellites?

“Biodiversity refers to the different types of life found on Earth. While it is a measure of the variety of organisms in ecosystems, it is difficult to quantify because it cannot be assessed in physical units, unlike other aspects of global change.

“Biodiversity is not evenly distributed, but varies greatly around the globe as well as within regions. Among other factors, the diversity of all living things depends on temperature, precipitation, altitude, soils, geography and the presence of other species.”    www.esa.int

GR:  Here’s a new call:  This post mentions a recent study that concluded that half of all Earth’s wildlife has died.  That study did not use satellite information.  If we relied on remote sensing from satellites, we would not know that most animals had died.  We can’t identify animals or most plant species from space.  We can’t see them, count them, or study them.  We need to get all our spacers on the ground with clipboards counting animals.  Of course, sitting at a desk, sipping coffee, studying a monitor is much more comfortable than being outdoors.  But what will they do if all the animals die?

Saving Earth’s biodiversity will rely on conservation, space agencies

Global biodiversity loss is intensifying. But it is hard to assess progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2011–20 set by the Convention on . . . .  Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.geneticliteracyproject.org

GR:  The argument for satellite remote sensing being necessary for conservation does not hold up.  Satellites cannot see conditions beneath forest tree canopies.  That’s where most of the biodiversity resides, and that’s where the soils that hold it all together lay.  Understory plants and soil microorganisms cannot be identified, counted, or assessed from space.  Direct space-program funding into on-the-ground surveys and get some useful information.  Before it’s all gone.

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