Priority list of biodiversity metrics to observe from space

A.K. Skidmore*, Nicholas C. Coops, E. Neinavaz, Abebe Ali, Michael E. Schaepman, Marc Paganini, W. Daniel Kissling, Petteri Vihervaara, R. Darvishzadeh, Hannes Feilhauer, Miguel Fernandez, Néstor Fernández, Noel Gorelick, Ilse Geizendorffer, Uta Heiden, Marco Heurich, Donald Hobern, Stefanie Holzwarth, Frank E. Muller-karger, Ruben Van De KerchoveAngela Lausch, Pedro J. Leitãu, M.C. Lock, Caspar A. Mücher, Brian O’Connor, Duccio Rocchini, Woody Turner, Jan Kees Vis, Tiejun Wang, Martin Wegmann, Vladimir Wingate

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Monitoring global biodiversity from space through remotely sensing geospatial patterns has high potential to add to our knowledge acquired by field observation. Although a framework of essential biodiversity variables (EBVs) is emerging for monitoring biodiversity, its poor alignment with remote sensing products hinders interpolation between field observations. This study compiles a comprehensive, prioritized list of remote sensing biodiversity products that can further improve the monitoring of geospatial biodiversity patterns, enhancing the EBV framework and its applicability. The ecosystem structure and ecosystem function EBV classes, which capture the biological effects of disturbance as well as habitat structure, are shown by an expert review process to be the most relevant, feasible, accurate and mature for direct monitoring of biodiversity from satellites. Biodiversity products that require satellite remote sensing of a finer resolution that is still under development are given lower priority (for example, for the EBV class species traits). Some EBVs are not directly measurable by remote sensing from space, specifically the EBV class genetic composition. Linking remote sensing products to EBVs will accelerate product generation, improving reporting on the state of biodiversity from local to global scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-906
Number of pages11
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Issue number7
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021




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