In the spirit of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010, an international team of researchers, small and medium enterprises and users has recently launched a GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) project exploring biodiversity as a ‘new emerging area’ of global attention.

The project called MS.MONINA offers remote sensing based monitoring services for observing and managing the state of NATURA 2000 sites and other precious habitats outside the existing network of protected areas to reduce the loss of biodiversity. With the kick-off meeting last December in Salzburg (Austria), a first step was taken towards defining and implementing new concepts and methods combining earth observation (EO) data and in-situ data with the aim to support public authorities in implementing policies and measures.

The University of Salzburg with Z_GIS as its geospatial centre of competence is proud to lead this project with partners from 9 European countries. Soon first pilot applications in a range of study areas will demonstrate the value and importance of monitoring for conservation of biodiversity. While European nature conservation will substantially benefit from this initiative, the tools and services developed also have a global impact.

The project will support the GEO (Group on Earth Observations) societal benefit area of biodiversity and demonstrate the power of EO-based methods for monitoring sensitive ecological sites in general. The Specto Natura contribution will focus on methods development and user engagement at a range of scales.