30 November 2000
Group Report -"GTOS: Turning a sound concept into a practical
LONG can the Earth tolerate ever intensifying human pressures
on its land, water and atmosphere? The simple answer is: we
do not know. We lack comprehensive data on the physical environment,
terrestrial ecosystem processes, and socio-economic forces
that are changing them. We have no reliable baseline for assessing
ecosystem changes, no global early warning mechanism to alert
us to changes requiring preventative or remedial action. We
cannot say whether natural resources conventions, policies
and plans adopted today are adequate to meet tomorrow's challenges.
These concerns - and the 1992 Earth summit - have prompted
four United Nations bodies and the world scientific community
to create the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS).
GTOS aims at improving the quality and coverage of terrestrial
ecosystem data, and integrating them into a worldwide knowledge
base that will help us manage our planet wisely for future
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