Developing user-friendly tools for wetland monitoring and conservation during the SWOS technical readiness workshop

The SWOS project is fostering the development of innovative services for an integrated wetland management using up to date Earth observation data. An important milestone towards the development of the services (such as maps and indicators production, software delivery, capacity building and geoportal and environmental data brokerage) could be reached during the SWOS Technical Readiness Workshop held from May 29 to June 02 on the Vilm Island at the Baltic Sea in Germany.

The Workshop was hosted by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), which is the German government’s scientific authority with responsibility for national and international nature conservation. BfN is one of the government’s departmental research agencies and reports to the German Environment Ministry. The BfN is responsible for the Ramsar reporting for Germany and national Ramsar focal point. Representatives from BfN (as part of the advisory board for the SWOS project) and the State Agency for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Geology of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (LUNG) discussed the capabilities of the SWOS mapping products and indicators for wetland monitoring. The SWOS use cases were presented and application fields were identified for international conservation activities including national support for conservation and restoration success monitoring for coastal fen peatlands.

VilmGroupFotoThe SWOS team discussed methodological developments for multi-source satellite-based wetland mapping. The latest developments for land use and land cover (change) mapping were presented and a training session on wetland mapping of a local protected peatland area was conducted. The further software implementation of the mapping algorithms in the SWOS toolbox were discussed (e.g. land use and land cover, short and long-term land cover change, surface water dynamics, water quality, and land surface temperature). In addition to the review of the technical readiness, issues of mapping nomenclatures and crosswalks between European and international classification schemes (such as Corine Land Cover, MAES, and FAO-LCCS) and the Ramsar scheme were discussed and applied in a local peatland mapping training session.

The SWOS developments were also discussed with Dr Laetitia Navarro, Executive Director of the Group on Earth Observation’s Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO-BON), within the global context of the SWOS project by linking the SWOS tools with the activities of the GEO Wetlands Initiative and the GEO-BON “BON in a box” project.

The result of this intensive workshop week in the core zone of the UNESCO-South-East Rügen Biosphere Reserve was a common understanding of the methodological developments and a roadmap for the mapping in the framework of the SWOS use case scenarios including the integration in the SWOS-Toolbox and the SWOS-Portal. The project team, users and stakeholders of the SWOS tools received full insight in the SWOS services developed so far and capabilities for satellite-based wetland monitoring.