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VEGETATION - 2000

Lake Maggiore - Italy, 3-6 April 2000


FOREWORD

Jean Paul Malingreau
VEGETATION International Users Committee Chairman
EC Joint Research Centre
Brussels - Belgium

(pdf file, 5 k)

The VEGETATION Workshop which took place in Belgirate (Italy) on April 3-6.2000 was the first meeting where users had the opportunity to present results of their investigations using extensive sets of data. The gathering showed that through the combined efforts of the Project Team, Steering Committee, Users Committee and Production Entity, the now continuous delivery of a product of outstanding quality can support a broad range of applications. The Workshop has further confirmed that, from a user point of view, the basic design, technical and operational options taken by the VGT programme were essentially correct. Today, Europe can offer to the international community a truly global observation system of high standards and performance for monitoring the resources and the environment of our planet. This gives confidence in the continuation of the programme in terms of further exploitation of results and of its follow-up with VEGETATION II.

A broad range of applications are reviewed in the present proceedings; many of them were foreseen at the beginning of the Vegetation Programme. They relate to the monitoring of crops, forest, land cover, surface hydrology or to the assessment of biospheric productivity; some applications, however, were not foreseen as in snow cover characterisation and in the exploitation of bidirectional effects. The quality of the products in terms of radiometric and geometric accuracies has been found to create favourable conditions for a rapid development of new and advanced applications. More innovative applications are still expected.

The VEGETATION data will for years to come provide reference information on the state of the biosphere and on the evolution of the earth resources. The system can be used to draw our attention to significant events and alert us on unwanted trends in the conditions of the Earth. In that sense, the Belgirate Workshop has begun to demonstrate that the VEGETATION approach can contribute in a significant manner to the development of an environmental intelligence to the service of global stewardship of our environment.