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.”

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?

Spatial conservation and choice of biodiversity surrogates and species distribution models

From the abstract:  “Pressure to conserve biodiversity with limited resources has led to increasing use of species distribution models (SDMs) for spatial conservation prioritization. Published spatial prioritization exercises often focus on well-studied groups, with data compiled from on-line databases of ad-hoc collections. Conservation plans generally aim to protect all components of biodiversity, and it is implied that the species used in prioritization act as surrogates.”  Source:

GR:  The results indicate that on-the-ground field surveys are required.  “Because valid surrogacy is unlikely with most existing data sets, investment in high quality data for less-surveyed groups prior to planning should still be a priority. If this is not possible, then it is advisable to analyse the sensitivity of conservation plans to the assumed surrogacy and quality of data available.”