Regional Environmental Change

Developing indicators of ecosystem condition using geographic information systems and remote sensing

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Courtesy of Regional Environmental Change

Abstract 
Improvements in remote sensing technologies and the use of geographic information system (GIS), are increasingly allowing us to develop indicators that can be used to monitor and assess ecosystem condition and change at multiple scales. This paper presents global- and regional-level indicators developed by the World Resources Institute and collaborating partners using remote sensing and GIS. Presented as regional and global maps, these spatial indicators are ideal communication tools to raise awareness of the condition of the Earths ecosystems among different audiences. Global and regional spatial indicators not only inform us about the current condition of, and pressures on, ecosystems, but also about the likely capacity of the ecosystem to continue to provide goods and services to future generations. The increasing focus on integrating socio-economic and biological information with remote sensing and GIS technology can only help to further our understanding and capacity to manage ecosystems in a more sustainable manner.

Keywords: Environmental indicators - Ecosystem condition - Ecosystem goods and services - Remote sensing - Geographic information systems

The author researched and wrote this paper while working for the World Resources Institute (WRI).

 

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