SLU news

Wanted: a global observatory to monitor biodiversity

Published: 28 August 2023

At a time of unprecedented decline in Earth’s biodiversity, scientists are calling for a new system for monitoring and providing the data needed for decision making and conservation action.

Earth’s biodiversity is threatened. In order to make sound decisions to reverse the decline, we need knowledge and insight into what is happening and where. In an editorial article in Nature, scientists working with GEO BON, The Group on Earth Observations Biological Observation Network, are calling for a new, global monitoring system for biodiversity:

– If we want to halt biodiversity loss, we need to move toward economic systems that take into account the value of nature. In order to achieve that goal, the development of harmonised systems for quantifying and monitoring biodiversity assets in ecosystems is of paramount importance, says Rubén Valbuena, professor in remote sensing at SLU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and one of the leaders of GEO BON’s ecosystem structure working group.

The proposed system for observation is called Global Biodiversity Observing System, GBiOS. The idea is to have a system not unlike the weather stations already in place, monitoring climate change with a combination of data, technology and knowledge.

According to the writers, GBiOS is the missing link needed to live up to the results of the UN conference on biodiversity 2022; Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. It could re-vitalise the collaboration around biodiversity data and data-sharing, and give more insight into the decline in Earth’s biodiversity, and how policies and actions could be designed to enable us to live up to the goals set out for the coming decades.

Rubén Valbuena. Photo by Andreas Palmén.