ESA data have been used to develop the new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Green Growth headline indicator on land-cover change.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines green growth as ‘fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.’
One of the key ways in which OECD recommends doing this is through the use of its new green growth headline indicator, which is based on ESA data from the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) and Cover project.
The science lead for the CCI Land Cover time series, Pierre Defourny, from the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, says that they aim to provide a harmonised, stable and consistent account of long-term land-cover status and changes that is ‘immune’ to short-term seasonal and temporary changes like snow cover in winter and crop rotation.
“In its current edition, the headline indicator distinguishes nine broad land-cover classes: tree cover, grassland, wetland, shrubland, sparse vegetation, as well as cropland, bare land, inland water and artificial surfaces,” explains Ivan Haščič, a senior economist at OECD.
“It seeks to measure changes from more natural to more anthropogenic land-cover types. This is because at the global scale, natural vegetated areas are critical for the conservation of biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services.”
Agricultural expansion and urbanisation are among the biggest drivers of land-cover change.