SWOS Newsletter #4: ‘Monitoring and Information Service for Protecting Wetland Ecosystems’

SWOS Newsletter  

Issue no.4, March 2018

In this issue


Ecosystem monitoring experts meet in Munich to test SWOS tools
A training workshop was organised by SWOS on 16-18 January 2018 in Munich, Germany. 50 participants from 23 different countries attended the workshop, among them 30 users from wetland organisations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East! The purpose of the training workshop was to teach participants technical skills and, in hands-on sessions, how to apply and work with satellite data for wetland monitoring, restoration and management. Participants were also given guidance on how to use the SWOS service components (maps and indicators, software tools and the portal) and how to integrate SWOS products into reporting for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.6.1. Further information about the event as well as some videos are available on the SWOS website


SWOS at the Ramsar African Regional Preparatory Meeting

SWOS project was presented in a Side Event at the African Preparatory Meeting during the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention 2018 Dakar, Senegal. The presentation was focused on the benefits of free available satellite data regarding monitoring of wetlands. Participants from the consortium presented the Standardized Nomenclatures  for MAES, CLC and LCCS, as well as the key features of the SWOS Software Toolbox and the Portal. One highlight was the demonstration of the indicator calculation, which can be applied for Ramsar and SDG 6.6.1 reporting obligations.

Interview with Tobias Salathé on SWOS project

Tobias Salathé, a Senior Advisor for Europe at the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and member of the Tour du Valat’s Board of Directors, answers important questions about the SWOS project. Read the full article in the Tour du Valat’s newsletter here.

Wetland managers and scientists review the SWOS portal

Towards the end of 2017, the SWOS team invited a selection of users to review the initial version of the SWOS portal. The aim of the user review was to engage key users in the development of the portal in order to enhance its value and user-friendliness. Overall, respondents were positive about the possibilities provided by the SWOS portal. They made suggestions for technical improvements and potential uses. The SWOS team is grateful for the feedback received and is currently working on an updated version of the portal. Further information is available on the SWOS website.

Thank you to all users!

The SWOS team would like to thank all respondents for taking the time to provide valuable feedback. We took note of all feedback and recommendations. Many of the suggestions will be integrated in the upcoming version of the SWOS portal. Other ideas will be saved for future development, as not all changes can be accommodated during the lifetime of this project.

SWOS at the 3rd Mediterranean Water Forum, Cairo
The 3rd edition of the Mediterranean Water Forum was held on January 22nd – 24th 2018 in Cairo, Egypt gathering the Mediterranean Water Community to discuss and debate on priority topics linked with the Thematic Framework of the 8th World Water Forum. On January 23rd, a working group session on “ECOSYSTEMS, managing and restoring for water services and biodiversity” was organised and attended by around 20 participants. SEMIDE coordinated the session with the Hydrological Planning Office of Segura River Basin Authority where 3 case studies of national wetlands from Egypt, Spain, and Tunisia were presented as listed below: 
–    Lake Manzala Engineered Wetland a Successful Model for the Mediterranean Sea Protection, Egypt
–    Albufera de Valencia: semi-urban wetland under ecological recovering process in Spain
–    Characterization of the issue of ecological waters demand: strategic orientations and action plans for pilot sites in Tunisia
SWOS project was introduced by SEMIDE as a monitoring tool for wetlands management during the session and it was also presented to a wider audience during the last day at the conclusions and wrap up session. Further information is available on the SWOS website.

Papers published:  ‘Mapping Mediterranean Wetlands With Remote Sensing: A Good-Looking Map Is Not Always a Good Map’ and ‘Practical solutions for bottlenecks in ecosystem services mapping’
Two scientific papers have recently been published by a broad consortium of authors including individuals from the SWOS, GEO-Wetlands and ECOPOTENTIAL projects. You can download them from here: 
–  ‘Mapping Mediterranean Wetlands With Remote Sensing: A Good-Looking Map Is Not Always a Good Map’
– ‘Practical solutions for bottlenecks in ecosystem services mapping’

Huge potential of satellite-based wetland monitoring recognized at UNFCCC COP23 side event in Bonn
On Saturday 11 November 2017, the SWOS team, together with the LIFE Peat Restore project team, organised the side event “Wetlands, Peatlands and Satellites” at the European pavilion at the UNFCCC COP23. The event included speakers from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, NABU, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Jena-Optronik GmbH, RSS – Remote Sensing Solutions and the University of Bonn. The side event introduced the Satellite-based Wetland Observation Service (SWOS) with its free tools and portals for wetland/peatland monitoring and services for reporting obligations like SDG 6.6.1 and those under Ramsar. It informed attendees about wetland/peatland frameworks, Ramsar priorities for peatlands and how the Project “Peatland Restore” will provide valuable estimations to national decision makers on how much greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated under different scenarios. Further information is available on the SWOS website.

Wetland Monitoring Workshop in United Arab Emirates

Dubai Municipality, Environment Department-Natural Resources Conservation Section, in collaboration with SWOS project and Tour du Valat, organised a workshop on wetlands monitoring between 5-9th of November 2017. Around 60 experts in wetland management and remote sensing from governmental, academic institutions and the private sector in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Council countries attended the workshop. The aim of the workshop was to enhance the experience of the participants in developing and implementing monitoring plans for wetland ecosystems.Further information is available on the SWOS website.

SWOS Project Overview

SWOS is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission to assist wetland practitioners (managers, policy-makers, scientists) with wetland monitoring and with reporting obligations for environmental policies at different scales. The project started officially on June 1st, 2015 for a period of three years. SWOS is a collaboration between 7 European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

SWOS Products and Mapping Components

SWOS will deliver mapping products and indicators derived from Earth Observation data. Six main products will be prepared for service demonstration in sites covering more than 19 countries in 3 continents. The main targeted products are Inventory and Delineation, Water Quality (status and trends), Land Use/Land Cover Mapping and changes, Land Surface Temperature change, Soil moisture and Surface Water Dynamics. Some examples of applications can be viewed online:

  • Monitoring of long term changes of the Dead Sea water table;
  • Monitoring of short term changes of wetland characteristics at Azraq Oasis in Jordan;
  • Daily large scale monitoring of NDVI-greenness in Greece; and
  • Monitoring of changes in mean chlorophyll concentration in the Camargue region in France.

For further information, please check SWOS website.

Upcoming Events

  • 27th-28th March 2018, Mapping water bodies from space 2nd Conference, ESA-ESRIN, Frascati, Rome – Italy (link)
  • 16th-18th May 2018, the 4th edition of the Tour du Valat Conference for Young Scientists on Conservation Sciences in the Mediterranean Region, Tour du Valat, Arles – France (link)
  • 28th May – 1st June 2018, The 15th International Conference on Space Operations, Marseille-France (link)
  • 4th-22nd June 2018, Wetlands, integrated water resources management and food security, the Netherlands (link)
  • 30th September – 4th October 2018, 16th International Conference of the IWA Specialist Group on Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control, Valencia-Spain (link)
  • 21st – 29th October 2018, 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13), Dubai, United Arab Emirates (link)


Kathrin Weise | Jena-Optronik GmbH, Otto-Eppenstein-Str. 3, 07745 Jena | Phone +49 3641 200160| Fax +49 3641 200220 | email kathrin.weise@jena-optronik.de  www.swos-service.eu

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  “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 642088. The contents of this newsletter are the sole responsibility of SWOS Consortium and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”