ECOPOTENTIAL is a new research project that is funded by the European Union within the Framework Programm for Research and Innovation. The project is starting in June 2015. It aims at the development and application of remote sensing approaches in protected areas of international importance. ECOPOTENTIAL brings together 47 research institutes, universities and companies from 18 countries and is lead by Dr. Antonello Provenzale from CNR, Italy, and by Prof. Carl Beierkuhnlein, University of Bayreuth.
The task is to achieve maximum benefits from established and future investments in earth observation and monitoring, as well in terrestrial as in marine ecosystems. Existing data will be mined and new measurements will be designed. Results will be made available to scientists, policy makers, citizens and societal groups of stakeholders. 47 funded partners - research institutes, universities, companies - from 18 countries are participating in one of the largest European projects ever in the field of ecology; and also international institutions such as UNEP or UNESCO are members in the consortium.
The project includes 12 work packages for the individual tasks and working groups within the consortium, such as monitoring and data mining, ecosystem modelling, remote sensing, policy development, capacity building and knowledge exchange. Investigation areas include 9 world heritage sites, 14 national parks, 12 biosphere reserves and 16 large Natura2000 sites. Additionally, large marine ecosystems such as the Carribbean or the Mediterranean will be analysed. Locations range from Abisko in the far north to Samaria Gorges in Crete and from Danube Delta in the East to Donana in the West. The project is focused on highly diverse but also vulnerable ecosystems such as mountain ranges, arid lands and coastal ecosystems. ECOPOTENTIAL will strongly contribute to the ecosystem topic in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)