Human activities are causing increasing changes on the environment. Although some of the changes are improving our comfort and livelihood, some changes are destroying the ecosystem on which we rely: climate changes, deforestation, depletion of natural resources, desertification and soil erosion, pollution,... UNEP through its network of GRID centres is monitoring environmental changes, especially landcover changes as these one can be observed by mean of remote sensing.
UNEP/GRID-Europe has compiled a series of case studies ranging from deforestation in Ivory Coast to impact from climate Changes in Peru. These cases studies were made in collaboration partners from different research institutions. They can be accessed through this web page (see menu on your right). Some of these case studies have been included in the recent DEWA/GRID-Sioux falls publications:
The publication draws largely on the Landsat archive of satellite data housed at the US Geological Survey/Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Centre, a long-standing partner of UNEP. The strength of the satellite-based approach stems from the hard facts comparing past and actual conditions. The examples selected clearly reveal the scale of change, which is noticeable even to the untrained eye. Case studies are supplemented with ground photos as well as brief explanations on the causes and consequences of the impacts. Hot spots range from forest cover change in Rondonia, drying of Lake Chad , demise of wetlands in Mesopotamia, land reclamation in Ijsselmeer, urban growth centres in Asia, and ice shelf collapse in polar regions. This atlas is UNEP ever bestseller and is presented at numerous events.
This publication was the prelude to the UNEP atlas "One Planet Many People" presented above. The publication compiled by DEWA/GRID-Sioux Falls, Selected Satellite Images of Our Changing Environment, provides a remarkable vision of the “human footprint” on the global environment as seen from space. Satellite images of fifty ‘hot spots’ that have undergone very rapid environmental change over the past 30 years (1972 – 2002) profile a wide array of environmental problems and threats. Diverse themes from across the world are covered, ranging from deforestation and associated biodiversity loss, disappearing wetlands and lakes, urban sprawl and glacial retreat. DEWA~Europe/GRID Geneva co-ordinated and researched a dozen sites and is one of the main contributors to the project.