Caring for the planet’s welfare
Human activities are increasingly influencing the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems and causing dramatic changes in land cover and use. This has far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, climate and food production worldwide. It was to better identify these problems with a view to promoting a healthier and more secure planet that GMES was set up. GMES stands for “Global Monitoring for Environment and Security” and is a joint initiative of ESA (European Space Agency) and the European Commission. It aims to collect continuous data on our changing planet for processing into information that can be readily used by policy bodies and other users. To this end, low resolution Earth observation satellites take daily readings of the entire Earth’s surface, thereby providing an important source of information. However, to be sure that the information furnished is reliable, a better understanding of the processes at work in the terrestrial ecosystems is essential.