ECOPOTENTIAL: Using Earth Observation to Protect Natural Ecosystems

Space exploration is revealing the abundance of other solar systems, but at the same time is showing the uniqueness of our Planet. Using sophisticated Earth Observation technologies such as the European "Sentinels", belonging to the greatest Earth Observation programme ever realised, Copernicus, we are now getting plenty of information at unprecedented high spatial and temporal resolution. Novel approaches for blending most advanced technologies with field work and conservation issues aimed at understanding and modelling status and changes of ecosystems are at the heart of ECOPOTENTIAL, a large European H2020 project with 47 partners, running from 2015 to 2019. ECOPOTENTIAL works on 25 protected areas (PAs) in Europe and beyond, spanning all biogeographical regions of Europe and focusing on mountain, arid and semiarid, coastal and marine environments, adopting the view of ecosystems as "one physical system with their environment, characterized by strong interactions between geosphere and biosphere across multiple scales. ECOPOTENTIAL has strong links with other international research programmes, such as GEO ECO, eLTER, GEO BON and LifeWatch. In particular, all data, models and knowledge will be available on common and open platforms through a virtual laboratory contributing to the GEOSS, the Common Infrastructure of the Group on Earth Observation, an international organisation linking more than 100 countries and 100 institutions, aimed to share and make openly available Earth Observation data, and including also a wide programme for building a community of practice through seminars, training, citizen science actions and outreach.
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Antonello Provenzale [], Mariasilvia Giamberini []. Carmela Marangi [], Palma Blonda []