Leading Role for GAF in European Space Agency (ESA) GMES Programme for Forest Monitoring
Munich, 04 November 2005 — In October 2005 the European Space Agency (ESA) awarded GAF the Project Management role for Stage 2 of the GMES Service Element on Forest Monitoring (GSE FM). GAF successfully managed the first stage of the GSE FM, which was implemented between February 2003 and September 2004 and had the main aim of consolidating forest monitoring services in policy areas relevant to climate change issues, sustainable forest management and forest-based environmental indicators. GAF and the entire GSE FM consortium were delighted with the news of the Stage 2 award, which combines baseline and extension programmes so that a full complement of service cases can be developed and offered in the next 3 years. The award is viewed as a demonstration of the confidence in the achievements of Stage 1 as well as the quality of the proposal.
Stage 2 will implement fully operational systems for an expanded user community within an accompanying expanded geographical service area in a sustainable manner. This will be done via promotion/marketing of the services to attract and incorporate new users and their requirements; the management of a Service Network which will provide an open service network to include all new users, service providers and other stakeholders as well as developing common data access conditions, and ensure maintenance of quality validation processes; and finally the evolution of the Service Portfolio will be based on the incorporation of new and valid research results into the production chains.
GSE FM Services Available
The key policies that the GSE FM addresses are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (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. A strong interest was expressed by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) to obtain GSE FM services for its policy-supporting activities which form the basis for the Pan European service case in Stage 2. There will also be a continued emphasis on service delivery for the Kyoto Protocol as this came into legal force in February 2005, thus increasing demand for the services.
The GSE FM services are based on products that range from highly accurate annual carbon balance estimates and the compilation of forest disturbance data to information products for practical forest and land use management operations, such as:
land use/cover and land use/cover change maps;
forest cover and forest cover change maps;
stand-type maps that support sub-national forest Geographic Information Systems (GIS);
stem volumes, biomass and carbon statistics and corresponding change data, as well as user-customised versions and/or combinations of the above.
User Community’s Support for GSE FM
The consortium partners have indicated the effectiveness of the GSE FM service delivery thus far which include factors such as the user community’s inclusion of the services/products into their working practices, the political support from senior-level decision-makers on the importance of the GSE FM services to policy implementation both in EU countries and internationally and finally the cost-effectiveness for the user community in adopting the GSE FM services. A high level of confidence exists within the consortium that the GSE FM will be implemented successfully in the next 3 years.
About GAF AG: www.gaf.de
GAF AG is an internationally renowned geo-information company, with leading competence and experience in the application of earth observation techniques and the development of dedicated software and information system solutions of uncompromising quality. GAF AG offers a broad spectrum of user services, ranging from procurement of geodata (e.g. satellite and aerial data, DEM, land use and land cover data), value adding processing, information processing and software development to the provision of turn-key technical assistance projects and customized spatial land management and monitoring systems. These products and services are based on state-of-the-art technology and know-how. GAF AG´s activities are managed by Dr. Rupert Haydn.