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About GSE Forest Monitoring


Public awareness and concern over the state of the environment and the security of the populace has been translated into action through an increasingly extensive legal framework of measures at all levels of decision-making. To ensure that the actions taken lead to a sustainable development decision-makers first of all require reliable, up-to-date information about the status of environmental systems. Such information is further needed to take future developments into account in the decision-making process and to monitor the effectiveness of the measures implemented.

European environmental policy is being realised within the legal framework of international environmental treaties, European directives, and national legislation of the member states. The underlying policy actions are positioned around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and accompanying international and European action programmes.

About GSEFMFurther to this, the European Union (EU) has launched a number of specific nature and environmental protection initiatives, all requesting various monitoring efforts with various spatial components. It was recognised that earth observation (EO) data - still largely underused - are a perfect means to satisfy the respective information demand.

The joint ESA-EU initiative Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES) and the EU initiative INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe (INSPIRE) can be understood as answer to the questions raised. The European GMES initiative offers a unique opportunity to address these issues through the implementation of the GMES Service Element (GSE), i.e. a strictly user-oriented independent information system providing key environmental information to European, national, and local users.

Consolidation of Forest Monitoring Services

The GSE Forest Monitoring (GSE FM) consortium was set up to address the policy related demands for securing the ecological functions in the forestry and landuse sector. The first stage (2003-2004) consolidated services related to information needs of environmental policies such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-UNFCCC.

Additionally, existing infrastructural systems and data sources were reviewed and utilised in order to develop forest monitoring services such as yearly carbon balance information, forest disturbance data, as well as products for practical forest and land use management.

A Service Portfolio of validated products and services was provided by the monitoring service and delivered standardised spatially referenced, quality products e.g. maps, that are cost effective, readily accessible and transparent to users, thereby promoting key applications and good governance within the forestry sector with sustainability as a paramount consideration.About GSEFM

GSE-FM is also connected with a partner project named Kyoto Inventory. The Kyoto Inventory (KYOTO INV) is a component of the ESA Dat

a User Programme (DUP). It defines and develops key inputs required for UNFCCC and Kyoto reporting including area assessments and classifications for forests and country-specific land use, and the detection of ARD activities.

Implementation of Services

The consolidation stage was successfully completed ( Living Planet Programme) and therefore the GSE FM is currently implementing a fully operational system from 2005-2008 for an expanded user community, with a related geographical service area in a sustainable manner. 

The overall objectives for GSE FM implementation are:

  • Demonstrate progress towards long-term sustainability for a set of GMES services.
  • Deliver services and benefits to users on progressively larger scales.
  • Establish a durable, open, distributed GMES Service Provision Network.
  • Establish standards and working practices for GMES Services.

The key policies that the GSE FM addresses are the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol (KP), the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) and related Criteria & Indicator processes, the United Nations Forum on Forests and National Forest Programmes.

The Service Portfolio for Stage 2 includes a scaling-up of the services as follows:

Pan-European Scale
  • PAN European Forest Monitoring Service
National Scale
  • Support to National UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol Reporting on Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Activities
National and Sub-national Scales
  • Forest Information Up-date
  • Support to Environmental Monitoring
  • Detection and Post-monitoring of Natural and Human Induced Forest Disturbances
Local Scale
  • Support to Management and Reporting Obligations of LULUCF Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Projects

Open Service Partnership

The GSE FM is managed via a service network of key stakeholders such as the user community, the service providers, policy-makers and the research community. As this is an open service network, any new stakeholders can join the consortium and participate in the programme. GSE-FM invites especially new users to join the growing network.

We invite you to explore the Web site for further details or please contact GSE FM.