Enhancing European wetland knowledge for further decision-making, Part 2

Sound wetland data development

Sound wetland data development under ALFAwetlands Work Package 1 has been supported by the project partners running ALFAwetlands Living Labs.

These wetlands catchments serve as examples of how geospatial data can be collected, processed and integrated to produce results that accelerate wetland and peatland restoration using available data, current knowledge and methods, and provide the best possible results for climate change mitigation advice and biodiversity protection measures with a focus on peatlands.

Stay tuned to learn more about ALFAwetlands developments and its important results!

Wetland databases are currently being developed for a total of 7 exemplary catchments in Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany and Latvia. They will all contain an appropriate subset of peatland information indicating their location and extent in the catchment in best available quality. Other datasets will include drainage information, (partly historical) EUNIS habitat types, vegetation and the distribution of peatland types in Europe. Here is the example of the larger River Peene catchment in north-eastern Germany with the geodata collected so far on the peatlands.

Figure 1: Location and extent of the larger Peene river catchment in northeastern Germany and the peatland related geo-data already included in the specific catchment wetland database.

Together with the data for mineral wetlands in floodplains and coastal environments, these peatland data will then be used to produce maps of their condition and management. Subsequently, ecological and economic models, which are ported in other ALFAwetlands Work packages, will use the wetland databases to derive their outputs. For all these applications, high-resolution and as accurate as possible input data are needed to obtain meaningful results.

Therefore, MSF did not use European-wide datasets, which are often too inaccurate and do not adequately reflect the regional characteristics of peatlands. Instead, the path of data collection led MSF through the project partners who are active in the respective example catchments. Thankfully, we received data for all catchments from them.

Alex Barthelmes, MSF expert

How we derive sound land use and land cover (LULC) maps from selected catchments

Together with input for mineral wetlands in floodplains and coastal environments, this peatland data will subsequently be used in Task 1.2 to map wetland management and degradation (led by LUKE) while developing peatland adjusted classes beyond common land-use categories. The pre-classification of the satellite images has been done in Google Earth Engine. Figure 2 shows the results for the River Peene catchment. Currently, the regional experts are creating training data for all exemplary catchments. Based on this, regionally adapted maps of land use and land cover in wetlands will be created in the Google Earth Engine in the coming months.

Figure 2: The results for the satellite image pre-classification in the Google Earth Engine (GEE) for the Peene river catchment. The smaller map on the left shows all catchments in GEE.

The ALFAwetlands consortium is putting a lot of efforts to improve the geospatial knowledge base of wetlands, to evaluate the pathways of wetland restoration that incorporate a co-creation process and to provide information and indicators for sustainability to maximise climate change mitigation, biodiversity and other benefits. Therefore, these project results will be really important for further decision-making.

Author of this post: Alexandra Barthelmes, Michael Succow Foundation

Help us to save wetlands! Stay tuned!

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