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Integrating Earth observation systems

The Department of Science and Technology’s  vision was to establish a long-term in-situ environmental observation platform supporting the various mandates of the different participating organisations, and overall for the public good.

It is vital for a national environmental observation system to be durable in its design and management. SAEON's network design promotes the integration of existing environmental observation systems, while it is stabilised by core funding from DST and a diverse range of participants.

 SAEON seeks to coordinate and support long-term in-situ environmental observation systems through three tiers of stakeholder advisory committees — political, technical and operational. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and other relevant departments are members of the SAEON Advisory Board and Technical Steering Committee

SAEON’s scientific design is adaptively refined to be responsive to emerging environmental issues and corresponds largely with the societal benefit areas of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

Six SAEON nodes have been established, not only at locations selected for geographical spread, but also in different host organisations for organisational spread. These organisations are:

Oceans and Coasts 

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) 

South African National Parks 

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife 

South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) 

The nodes are field centres coordinating and facilitating observation and information systems for four biome-based terrestrial regions, the coastal zone (divided into three bio-geographic regions) and offshore-marine systems (divided into three Large Marine Ecosystems). Once established, they become centres of gravity attracting world-wide research interest.

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