Impact

For improved conservation and management of wetlands it is important to save time  and resources in wetland monitoring e.g. through improved data retrieval. Furthermore, more efficient and consistent monitoring of wetlands which is not restricted by political boundaries helps improve management of transboundary wetlands. SWOS wetland site delimitation considers the hydrological and ecological characteristics of a wetland, not only administrative limits of wetlands. This allows for a much more integrated assessment of the wetland and its threats. 

SWOS is providing standardized and comparable information about wetlands. Consequently, the SWOS methods and tools allow getting the big picture of the status of the world’s wetlands as requested by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for Ramsar and SDG reporting.

The SWOS services contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting countries in meeting their reporting obligations for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). For example, SWOS products and tools are designed to compute ecosystem extent data required to monitor SDG Indicator 6.6.1: “change in extent of water-related ecosystems over time” as well as to meet the priorities set under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification “Land Degradation Neutrality” (LDN) principle (also targeted under SDG 15).

SWOS Land Use Land Cover products have been used to compare Ramsar site boundary information from the World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA) or Ramsar database with the spatial distribution of important wetland habitats at 29 sites in 15 countries. This approach demonstrates how protected area designations can be designed or revised to offer the best possible protection for natural features of importance.

SWOS has introduced validated tools and methods to guide EU action towards achieving no-net-loss and restoration targets and objectives for wetland ecosystems. SWOS products have fed the analytical framework for Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Condition in the EU (MAES). This framework provides a knowledge base on ecosystems and their services which can help deliver on the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.