Home Articles Geospatial data for wetland mapping and capacity building in southern Africa

Geospatial data for wetland mapping and capacity building in southern Africa

Dr Lisa-Maria Rebelo
IWMI,
Sri Lanka
Email: [email protected]

Dr Max Finlayson
IWMI
Email: [email protected]

Dr Matthew McCartney
IWMI
Email: [email protected]

The sustainable management of wetlands requires information describing these ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. For large, inaccessible wetland complexes Earth Observation data may provide the only practical means of mapping and monitoring their spatial and temporal characteristics. The Lukanga swamps in Zambia, and Lake Chilwa in Malawi are two large (>2200km2) wetlands which are subject to population pressure and exploitation of resources both within the wetlands themselves and the surrounding catchments. As a result serious degradation and loss of biodiversity is occurring at both sites. The wetlands are being mapped using a multiple scale geospatial dataset consisting of Landsat TM and ASTER data. A GIS database of ground truth sites has been created in order to aid in image interpretation. In addition due to the inaccessible and geographically remote nature of the sites, aerial photographs have been acquired. This combination of GPS, GIS, aerial photographs and remote sensing data at multiple scales will be used to assist policy makers to formulate management plans in wetlands that are used intensively for agriculture and fisheries and are an important natural resource for local communities.