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Characterizing, modeling, and monitoring the distribution and condition of the Earth's biodiversity and ecosystems has a long history of being aided by Earth Observation data and the models and derivative products that they support. At the global scale, there need to be more coordinated efforts to acquire, process, analyze, and make available these observation data across all disciplines, particularly since many applications use the same primary and derived data. Towards that end, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is implementing the Global Earth Observing System of Systems. The purpose of this article is to provide information on GEO's goals and activities relevant to biodiversity and ecosystems. The article also describes the data that would best serve as a year 2010 baseline in order to support the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as many other international agreements, programs, and activities. Indeed, an assessment of existing biodiversity observations with a concomitant recognition of the remaining gaps will promote the establishment of an integrated framework for biodiversity observations in support of the CBD's efforts.