The emphasis of the BIO_SOS project is on NATURA 2000 sites in the Mediterranean part of Europe, but also sites in the Netherlands, Wales and even the tropical rainforest of Brazil are included. The latter is a contribution to global issues as are carried out in GEO.

Why the emphasis on the Mediterranean?

Knowledge on biodiversity in Europe is not very strongly developed in the Mediterranean parts of Europe. There are few volunteer groups for observing biodiversity, the staff of nature protection agencies is relatively small and often not well equipped for the tasks they have to do, site management control on disturbances, pollution and illegal activities and monitor status and trends in species and habitat development. Especially in the Mediterranean terrain can be inaccessible due to long travel distances or difficult terrain. Disturbances or activities can have a small or great impact on biodiversity. Some processes are to small to bother if they occur only once, but if they become a regular pattern then the impact is serious such as logging few trees every year at the border of a forest or destroying small strip of calcareous grassland by ploughing, Also serious impacts can happen as dumping waste, building a house and the construction of a road. Status trends and disturbances monitoring by using cost effective tools is important in all Europe, but most urgent in the Mediterranean.

Which tools are being developed?

Remote sensing can be a very good tool in monitoring stock, change and disturbance, because it larger areas can be observed in short time and results can be compared through time based on wall to wall maps. It can then be more easy to send out warning signals to local authorities for repair  of disturbances or immediate stopping of illegal activities. However, monitoring change and trends cannot only be done by looking from a distance. Eyes on the ground remain needed for ground truth data and for detail information on what happens with species and habitat quality. Both observation systems are linked and should be harmonized.

BIO_SOS: BIOdiversity multi-SOurce monitoring System: from Space TO Species