The concept of sustainable resource management can be applied at multiple scales. Monitoring is an essential component of sustainable natural resource management schemes, and as we begin to confront the need to manage natural resources at the global scale, the importance of monitoring at the global scale is also growing. The combination of satellite remote sensing, in situ measurements, and simulation modeling has the potential to deliver an annual assessment of status and trends for several measures of terrestrial biosphere structure and function relevant to sustainability. However, there is, as yet, no internationally coordinated effort in place to perform that analysis. Synthesis activity of that kind would support the development of global environmental governance institutions, including both non-governmental organizations and international bodies.