Enhancing European wetland knowledge for further decision-making, Part 1

ALFAwetlands Work Package 1 is led by the Michael Succow Foundation (MSF). The MSF is in charge of performing extensive data collection, mapping, and Earth Observations-based modelling of the current status of the European wetlands, taking into account different types of natural and wetlands and such under artificial used. Performance of these tasks together with the project partners LUKE, CREAF; UT and EVINBO will advance the state-of-the-art of the geo-spatial knowledge base on wetlands, their use and degradation in Europe.

The first part of the work in the project is focused on:

  • elaboration of sound wetland data on catchment and European level, led by MSF
  • production of multiscale land use/land cover (LULC) maps for wetland-rich catchments, led by LUKE
  • how to align these geo-spatial wetland data with the needs of respective policy instruments, led by MSF.

Tasks under these Work Package that will pick up a speed a bit later, will be:

  • production of priority lists and maps for peatland restoration for catchments, partner countries and peatland regions
  • investigation of factors that have led to (in)successful restoration projects in the past
  • production of geo-data on best practice examples for peatland restoration.

How we produce sound wetland data on the European level

Production of the sound wetland data on the European level, with the focus on EU, is also led by the MSF team and had started right at the beginning of the ALFAwetlands project. The extensive search for, collection and evaluation of data was a major focus of the Foundation’s work in the project´s first year. Data from the Global Peatland Database (GPD). served as the starting point for this work. However, enormous efforts were made to inventory, assess, compile and enhance the available geo-data. This has already included more than 400 GIS datasets across Europe, which have been analyzed for their suitability as input to the European Wetland Map and to update the European Peatland Map. Many of the already accessed datasets will be used to map mineral wetlands, and several will used to update the peatland map (see Figure 1). The latter will be carried out in close cooperation with ALFAwetlands sister projects, with peatland data being updated as available.

Figure 1.  Composite peatland map of Europe, based on data from Tanneberger et al. 2017

This map will be comprehensively updated by the end of 2024. Intermediate stages will be elaborated according to the planned deliverables of the abovementioned ALFAwetlands sister projects, where MSF and University of Greifswald are involved.

Needs for policy instruments

During this process, the needs of respective policy instruments will be captured regarding geospatial wetland data and this information will flow into the process of data creation, to achieve wide uptake of produced data beyond the project’s duration. For this task there is also cross-project cooperation ongoing with the sister project WET HORIZONS. The close coordination regarding the pool of stakeholders to be addressed from both projects, avoids a duplication of requests to certain persons, prevents their fatigue and thus enlarges the scope of persons included in the surveys, interviews or workshops. In general, the involvement of end users at the very beginning of these projects is a great step forward, which hopefully will ensure a wide use of the project products.

Help us to save wetlands! Stay tuned!

Author of this post: Alexandra Barthelmes, Peatland expert Michael Succow Foundation

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