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The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) was established in January 1996 by its five co-sponsoring organizations. It was created in response to international calls for a deeper understanding of global change in the Earth System.

The central mission of GTOS is to provide policy-makers, resource managers and researchers with access to the data they need to detect, quantify, locate, understand and warn of changes (especially reductions) in the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to support sustainable development. Since its establishment GTOS has been working to improve the quality, the coverage and accessibility of terrestrial ecosystem data.

GTOS is developing activities that focus on five issues of global concern:

1. changes in land quality
2. availability of freshwater resources
3. loss of biodiversity
4. climate change
5. pollution and toxicity

GTOS promotes: integration of biophysical and socio-economic georeferenced data; interaction between monitoring networks, research programmes and policy-makers; data exchange and application; quality assurance and harmonization of measurement methods; and collaboration to develop regional and global datasets.

GTOS Sponsors

FAO:: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations::
ICSU:: International Council of Scientific Unions::
UNEP:: United Nations Environment Programme::
UNESCO:: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization::
WMO:: World Meteorological Organization::

GTOS Secretariat
c/o Environment and Natural Resources Service
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100, Rome, Italy

Tel: (+39) 06 57052565
Fax: (+39) 06 5703369

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