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Fig.: Katja Janson

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Geomatics

KOSMOS Workshop 2017


On the 30th-31st of March 2017, the Geomatics Lab has hosted the Workshop "Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Functioning", bringing together a group of researchers from GEO BON (Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network) Ecosystem Function Working Group. On the 30th the workshop had the form of a mini-conference with public talks on the topic. Numerous interested students and researchers attended the talks.

VIDEO: All talks were recorded and can be watched here.


Workshop description

In times of global change, international societal targets were defined to help prevent and mitigate losses in global biodiversity. In order to monitor progresses towards these targets, it is necessary to monitor biodiversity globally and in a standardized manner. This leads to the definition of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) relating to biodiversity ranging from genes to ecosystems. Ecosystem functioning is a highly relevant EBV class, as it enhances our knowledge and understanding of ecosystem processes and its change. It comprises variables such as net primary productivity, secondary productivity, nutrient retention, and disturbance regime. The global characterisation and monitoring of ecosystem functioning, while being a field of ongoing research, is only possible through remote sensing approaches and thus requires a deep knowledge on both the remote sensing and ecosystem ecology disciplines.


Particularly, the characterisation of ecosystem function, its heterogeneity or diversity, based on the EBVs framework concept, may provide unique information e.g. when compared to existing (taxonomic/structural) ecological maps. This effort could be used to inform conservation initiatives such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems or to report progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets. Furthermore, it could provide critical information on species habitats and ecosystem services.


This workshop aimed at contributing towards setting up protocols and workflows for deriving EBVs related to ecosystem functioning, thus filling a present research gap. It joined an interdisciplinary group of internationally leading researchers from several institutions from Germany, United States of America, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. The expertise of this group ranges from remote sensing to ecology, with a focus on functional traits and ecosystem functioning characterization. This initiative may serve as a stepping stone on the actual development of globally valid EBVs at a critical time when it is necessary to move away from concept definition towards actual implementation of functioning EBVs, useful for reporting global biodiversity change.


The following talks took place:
Time Program Speaker
10:30 Welcome note Patrick Hostert
10:40 Not all is lost! Taking the long view to understand land use effects on biodiversity Catalina Munteanu
11:00 Remote sensing biodiversity Pedro J. Leitão
11:20 Understanding status, stress, disturbances and resource limitations of ecosystems with remote sensing Angela Lausch

Ecosystem functioning in SDMs: Scaling ecosystem function across trophic levels

Maria João Santos

13:30 Current status and future directions in the development of ecosystem functioning essential biodiversity variables Néstor Férnandez
13:50 GEO BON and the challenges for remote sensing Andrew Skidmore
14:10 Essential Ecosystem Variables and ecosystem functional properties Miguel Mahecha
14:30 Linkages between ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services Jaime Garcia Márquez
14:50 Mapping heterogeneity and richness: snares and solutions Duccio Rocchini
15:40 Contributions of radiative transfer models to map ecosystem functioning Jean-Baptiste Feret
16:00 Tracking spatial and temporal variation of ecosystem structure and function with phenological metrics Kate He
16:20 Remote sensing functional diversity Michael Schaepman
16:40 Key dimensions and variables to characterize ecosystem functioning using remote sensing Domingo Alcaraz-Segura
17:00 Summary and wrap-up Pedro J. Leitão
Lab members and external researchers involved



This workshop was endorsed by Geobon - Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network



This workshop was funded by the KOSMOS Programme of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.