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Annual Review of the Ecosystem Sector 2022

The following article, compiled with input from Showcase 4 Pilot 2 (mySPACE), is the fourth part in a series of articles which investigate the significant developments and challenges in the e-shape sectors this year.  


Name one of the main trends in the sector. 

One of the main developments and achievements is the establishment of the Integrated European Long-Term Ecosystem, a critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER-RI). It aims to harmonise and integrate long-term ecosystem observation by providing integrated datasets and products relevant to research and EO data services. It is based on shared specifications defined by standard observations. Fostering and enhancing data availability will be based on tools which inter-alia are developed in the e-shape framework building a consistent catalogue of services relevant to a range of stakeholders.   


Which are the biggest challenges in the sector? 

One of the main challenges for long-term in-situ data is consistency and availability over time. Efforts are needed to ensure documentation and provenance of the data products. It is addressed by developing tools and services as well as harmonising efforts by setting up the research infrastructure. 


What should be done in the next five years to respond to the sectorial challenges?  

EO data products are gaining importance when upscaling site-based ecosystems and biodiversity modelling. Therefore, one solution that could respond to the current challenges is the further development of Digital Twins. Digital Twins for biodiversity or ecosystems depend on high-resolution EO data products that are validated using site-based data. To do that, EO companies need easy access (e.g. services and clear licensing) to real-time and long-term in-situ data for calibration/validation. Another advantage of Digital Twins is that site-based ecosystems and biodiversity modelling also imply a closer linking of the EO community to the in-situ observation networks and infrastructures on a European scale.