SWOS service case for Greek Ramsar sites

10 Ramsar wetlands sites in Greece. Image by EKBY

10 Ramsar wetland sites in Greece. Image by EKBY

The Greek Biotope Wetland Centre (EKBY), one of the user partners in the SWOS partnership, under the request of the Department of Protected Areas and Biodiversity of the Greek Ministry for Environment and Energy, is implementing a SWOS service case dedicated to serve the national reporting requirements of the Ramsar Convention. The provision of a suitable map or maps is a requirement under Article 2.1 of the Convention as part of the information supplied in the Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS).

The main output of this national SWOS service case, will be a set of harmonized geographical datasets for the 10 designated areas covering their entire water basins. The wetland and non-wetland parts of the Ramsar site are being depicted. The Ramsar wetland typology is applied to classify the wetland area and the CORINE Land Cover nomenclature to classify the non-wetland part. Such maps are often absent or not updated for most of the Ramsar designated sites worldwide.

Further, at the water basin level, an ecosystem mapping is under progress applying the MAES ecosystem typology that supports the implementation of the Action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 in Europe.

The SWOS service case on the 10 Greek Ramsar sites (total area of 167 501 ha) is based on the Sentinel series of the European Copernicus program, and in particular the Sentinel 2 images, which offer exceptional spectral, spatial and temporal resolutions. In addition, the historical Landsat image archive is used to assess changes due to human activities such as expansion of agricultural and urban areas on wetlands.

Through the Ministry, the maps will be forwarded to the management bodies of the Greek Ramsar sites for review and assessment of their quality and they will become the basis for the update of the Greek RIS. The work is in progress and the mapping results are planned to be published by the end of 2017.

By Eleni Fitoka, EKBY