Biodiversity pilot, aka RS-EBVs for biodiversity monitoring, has two targets:


Focus on creating the biodiversity GEOhub

Importantly the GEOhub will offer sustainability beyond the project lifetime by embedding the biodiversity GEOhub with the GEO Global Initiative GEO-BON. The need for remote sensing for global EBVs is to fill the spatial and temporal gaps between in situ observation biodiversity data. Several steps remain in order to actualize the acquisition of the observations needed for these remote sensing EBVs. GEO, through its Global Initiative GEO BON, proposes to act as a hub to facilitate iterative discussion between space agencies (via CEOS) and key policy bodies (CBD, IPBES).


Demonstrating the use of high resolution RS-EBVs for habitat monitoring

…in order to support among others the EEA and ETC/BD. These organisations have special responsibilities with regard to European habitats, with specific emphasis on the reporting obligations towards the Birds and Habitat Directives. The spatial identification of European habitats and related changes are a difficult task, and much effort is nowadays being put in the spatial identification of EUNIS habitat types. Remote sensing data could play a much larger role than it has now, and a good integration of the large amount of in-situ field observations (vegetation plots) with high resolution RS-EBVs are key. The integration of high resolution RS-EBVs is demonstrated for forest and heathland habitats.

Quick Facts


Europe and specific regions in Europe such as the Netherlands, Bavarian Forest National Park, and Catalonia.


  • Environmental predictors such as potential evapotranspiration, solar radiation, seasonality, mean temperature, annual precipitation, distance to water, bulk density of the soil, cation exchange capacity of the soil, soil organic carbon content, soil pH, etc.
  • RS-EBV’s: such as LAI, vegetation phenology, land cover, leaf nitrogen content, inundation, vegetation height.
  • Ground truth observations of European habitats


The biodiversity community still lacks a global observing system for biodiversity monitoring. Such a gap is worrying, as operational observing systems are key to coordinating globally consistent data collection across all dimensions of biodiversity. Therefore there is an urgent need from the remote sensing community to feed information towards EBVs (Essential Biodiversity Variables) to fill the spatial and temporal gaps in between in-situ biodiversity observation data from the field.


Several RS-EBVs are anticipated to be derived from satellite remote sensing. The focus is on supporting a biodiversity GEOhub and modelling the spatial distribution of European habitats, which serve the various biodiversity communities (not only GEO-BON, CBD and IPBES, EEA, ETC/BD, and many smaller organisations interested in biodiversity).


This task is focused on creating the biodiversity GEOhub for RS-EBV’s, to support the GEOSS European Hub and providefull interoperability of biodiversity data. It demonstrates the use of RS-EBVs for habitat monitoring by spatial modelling of EUNIS habitats (maps with spatial distribution of habitats).


The web mapping tool for querying the spatial distribution of European habitats will be integrated in the GCI.


  • University of Twente
  • DLR
  • UAB