A warning system for the planet
“The connections between nature and society are most complex and little is known about the tipping points of our socio-ecological systems,” Thonicke says. For the first time, the scientists from the international Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) outline a framework for a global warning system. Their design focuses on connecting existing data bases and resources, identifying gaps in observation systems and developing communicating standards. “The global monitoring system for ecosystem service change will allow us to take more complete stock of the planet’s life-support system in ways that enhance research, assessment and decision-making processes,” Thonicke says.
Though the emphasis is on a national scale, the framework can be worked downward to a local scale as well as upward to the global scale. In spite of satellites monitoring the changing extent of forests, nations and international organizations tracking the economic flows of many goods like crops or timber, and numerous programmes like the Red List for Threatened Species compiling data on the status of species and populations, many vital processes are still not monitored globally or not monitored at all. A wide-ranging warning system is therefore missing.
Article: Tallis, H., Mooney, H., Andelman, S., Balvanera, P., Cramer, W., Karp, D., Polasky, S., Reyers, B., Ricketts, T., Running, S., Thonicke, K., Tietjen, B., Walz, A. (2012): A Global System for Monitorin Ecosystem Service Change. Bioscience. Nov 2012, Vol. 62. No. 11
Weblink to article: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2012.62.11.7
(Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network): http://www.earthobservations.org/geobon.shtml