Magnus Andresen, UN Environment, Vienna (A)
In early May, around 60 Protected Area representatives and ECOPOTENTIAL colleagues from across Europe and beyond gathered in the Regional Natural Reserve “San Rossore – Migliarino – Massaciuccoli” in Pisa, Italy to see how ECOPOTENTIAL Earth Observation tools, such as satellite imagery and ecosystem models, can best contribute the management of Protected Areas. The four-day event, titled ‘Application of Earth Observation tools in Protected Areas in Europe and beyond,’ was organized by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) together with the UN Environment and other ECOPOTENTIAL project partners.
The main aim of the meeting was to ask Protected Area managers about their practical needs to use the various Earth Observation tools under development by ECOPOTENTIAL. The second aim was to bring scientists and Protected Area managers together to create a community of practice. The workshops held by the Work Packages leaders addressed a range of challenges for Earth Observation application as identified in the synthesis study: “Training, software & hardware needs and the use of the ecosystem services approach in Protected Area management”, published as a project deliverable. The participating Protected Area staff also stressed the need for a training workshop to learn essential skills for practical application of Earth Observation tools developed by ECOPOTENTIAL, which will tentatively take place in the first quarter of next year.