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Test and Prototype Sites

Test and Prototype sites

The methodological developments will be implemented in small test sites with good access to specific in-situ data and which represent the appropriate land cover types and biogepographical diversity to address the research needs of an evolution of the Copernicus operational Land Monitoring Services. Larger prototype sites (approx. 100.000 km² per prototype site) containing the test sites serve for demonstrating the proposed candidates for a Copernicus Land Service Evolution roll-out on a larger scale.

The selected Prototype Sites cover the most important environmental zones (Source: EEA) of Europe as well as different member states of EEA-39. These prototype sites are located in the Boreal zone in the North of Europe (Sweden Norway), in the Continental and Alpine Central region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy and Czech Republic), in the Mediterranean, Continental and Alpine South-East (Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria and Kosovo) and in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Alpine South-West (Frances, Spain, Andorra) of Europe.

Further pre-selected Test Sites located in France, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Greece are supporting the methodological developments. The test-site in Sweden is dominated by forests, in some central parts and in the South larger agricultural areas are included. The forest land is intersected by lakes and smaller water bodies, also by peat bogs and grassland. The test-site in Germany / Austria is covered in the North by dominantly used cropland areas, mixed with grassland (pastures). The adjoining part towards South, covering the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, is dominated (besides forest cover) by grasslands including several habitat grassland and wetland types. The test-site covers the “Wetterstein mountain range” as part of the Alps with mountain-specific vegetation zones and stretches South down to the Inn valley. The Bulgarian / Greek test-site has parts in the Continental, the Alpine and the Mediterranean biogeographical regions. The alpine part is covered by the Rhodopian Mountains up to about 2000 m in the center, to a high degree forested. The test-site includes various semi-natural grassland habitats and pastureland, with cropland in the North and South.

European sites

With respect to the global perspective, three African Sites of 100 x 100 km distributed across the continent have been selected to cover a wide range of land diversity. The Mali site is representative of many semi-arid regions. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) test site Kisangani corresponds to the dense moist tropical forests which is subject to various degradation levels of the forest canopy and conversions to cropland or urban areas. The South Africa site covers various natural landscapes combined with subsistence agriculture.


Four JECAM (Joint Experiment for Crop Assessment and Monitoring) test sites located in Belgium, France, Mali and South Africa are selected to address the need for the development of a crop area and crop status layer based on Sentinel data time series on pan-European and global level. The selection of these sites in different biogeographic regions ensures a large crop and field size diversity, including grasslands and natural vegetation.

African testsite

Image: ESA

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