[Sdi-northamerica] New global initiative to track changes in land cover and use
klance_remote at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 16 07:34:24 EST 2010
United States launches new global initiative to track changes in land cover and
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, co-leading the U.S. delegation
to the 2010 Group on Earth Observations (GEO) summit, announced that the United
States is launching a new global initiative aimed at developing the first-ever
comprehensive and up-to-date database of 30-meter satellite imagery that will
show changes in land cover and land uses worldwide.
“The Global Land-Cover Data Initiative aims to provide land-managers,
decision-makers and communities around the globe with critical information about
changes to land use and land cover,” Hayes told the delegates from 85 countries
and the European Commission at the intergovernmental GEO VII Ministerial Summit
meeting in Beijing. “This type of sharing of data and technology can help us
make wise decision about how best to build a sustainable future, protect our
environment, and tackle challenges like pollution and climate change,” he said.
More than 80 percent of the imagery for the Global Land-Cover Data Initiative
can be obtained with Landsat, a satellite program operated by Interior’s U.S.
Geological Survey in cooperation with NASA. Hayes asked international partners
at the GEO summit to assist with developing the remaining information that would
be needed for a comprehensive global land-cover database.
Today’s announcement of the Global Land-Cover Data Initiative follows the
announcement on Wednesday of SilvaCarbon, a separate U.S. initiative designed to
strengthen global capacity to understand, monitor, and manage forest and
terrestrial carbon. (See U.S. Unveils Initiative to Monitor and Manage Forest
[SilvaCarbon will bring together a community of U.S. scientists and technical
experts from government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and industry
into a network that will support efforts to improve access to Earth observation
data about forests. It is a key element in the Administration’s comprehensive
strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and
enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries.]
"These investments in the science will promote a better understanding not only
of the changes in land cover, but also of the effectiveness of various efforts
to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from land use change,” Abbott noted. “They
can thus help promote transparency in national and international mitigation
actions in this critical sector, and strengthen multilateral efforts to combat
climate change as they inform countries on the best ways to design and improve
such policies going forward.”
Although moderate- resolution global land cover initiatives have been underway
for some time and have provided important synoptic global land-cover data, the
proposed initiative is based on the fact that higher-resolution (30m) global
land cover datasets would permit detection of land change at the scale of most
human activity--where change most commonly occurs--and would increase
flexibility in environmental modeling. The higher resolution thus is
particularly important for studies of ecosystem fragmentation and degradation
and ultimately will improve the comparability of assessments conducted across
The 30-meter resolution will produce several land-cover data products for the
international community. The first set of products will describe the Earth’s
land cover conditions as of 2010, and will include:
1.A 2010 global land-cover characteristics baseline providing quantitative
measures of six major land-cover characteristics-- percent tree, shrub,
herbaceous, surface water and wetness, snow/ice, or barren land-cover. This
should be completed by December 2012.
2.A 2010 global map of land-cover and land-use types—such as such as urban and
built-up areas, agriculture, forests, grasslands, shrublands, water bodies,
wetlands, snow and ice, and barren areas-- using the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization classification system. This global layer should be
completed by December 2013.
Once the baselines are established, it is envisioned that the land-cover
characteristics product will be updated annually and the land-cover-type map
every five years.
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