Friday, February 18, 2011: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
159AB (Washington Convention Center )Today, the loss of species is estimated to be up to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. The cause: human activities. Preserving biodiversity on Earth is a key 21st century challenge -- protected areas are a vital part of the response. Effective protected area management deals with complex links between environmental and anthropogenic factors, calling for information gathered by disciplines ranging from biology to sociology, on scales from molecular to global and over time periods of hours to centuries. Borders between disciplines and regions mean large volumes of data have been collected and maintained independently; models using these data were also operated in isolation. The use of distributed computing technology is revolutionizing the way we deal with information, and international initiatives, such as the Group on Earth Observations, encourage different communities to make their systems and applications interoperable. As interdisciplinary issues are tackled, the risk that data and analytical models are misused increases dramatically. The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) specifically targets the challenges of multiscale, cross-disciplinary science for biodiversity protection. It overcomes risks from mixing disconnected data and models with undocumented uncertainties. It connects science from the field with current observations from space. This session will explore the use of data on the Earth's 24 million square miles of terrestrial protected areas.
Alan Belward, European Commission, JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Geraldine Barry, European Commission, JRC
Grégoire Dubois, European Commission, JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability