From October 25th to November 4th, the 16th edition of the Genoa Science Festival, the most important Science Festival in Italy, will host the H2020 ECOPOTENTIAL photo exhibition, with the title: "Uno sguardo dal cielo - I cambiamenti degli ecosistemi visti dai satellelliti" (“A glimpse from the Sky – Ecosystem Changes from Satellites”). The ECOPOTENTIAL photo exhibition, already displaied at the European Parliament and in other locations in Europe, shows how climate and anthropic pressures affect natural ecosystems in 24 among the most important protected areas in Europe and beyond, and the research done in the project. Beautiful pictures and satellite images illustrate how researchers and protected areas managers are working together to study and preserve natural ecosystems.
European protected areas represent a priceless heritage: they are open-air laboratories that allow to study and enjoy the few poorly anthropized ecosystems still remaining. Often hotspots of the changes taking place on our planet, natural ecosystems record what happens to vegetation, soil, ice, lakes and rivers’ bottom, and animal populations.
New Earth Observation systems allow to detect these changes with unprecedented frequency, resolution and spatial amplitude. These are the ESA Sentinel missions, supporting the European Copernicus programme, the most ambitious Earth Observation system ever realized. About 50 partners of the largest EU project on ecosystems - ECOPOTENTIAL - analyse Sentinel data to understand how natural ecosystems are changing as a result of climate change, pollution and human activities. The Alpine forests are changing because of a beetle attacking the bark of spruces; the glaciers are retreating; trees are replacing abandoned pastures, creating possible problems for wild ungulates and generating different equilibria.
Satellite data allow to detect these changes by measuring variables such as vegetation distribution, chlorophyll, snow cover, flooded surface, soil humidity and temperature, glacier extent, land use, providing information to understand causes and propose appropriate conservation strategies.
Watch the Genoa Science Festival video: http://www.cnrweb.tv/festival-della-scienza-2018-cambiamenti/