Satellite-based Wetland Observation Service (SWOS) project has just started on June 1st, 2015, and already reached a great interest at the COP12 of RAMSAR convention in Uruguay, when presented on 5th of June at the Mediterranean Agora. (see the leaflet)
The Kick-off meeting took place in Jena (Germany) in July 1-2nd, 2015. The objective of the project SWOS is to develop a monitoring and information service focussing on wetland ecosystems.
Globally wetlands are the ecosystems with the highest rate of loss. This is alarming, considering their significance as biodiversity hotspots and ecosystems with a central role in the water cycle, including improving water quality and reducing water scarcity, in climate regulation and the economic benefit gained from using their services.
A key limitation to their more effective conservation, sustainable management and restoration is the missing knowledge underpinning the application of European policy by Member States. Under the Biodiversity Strategy, Member States have recently committed to the mapping and assessment of ecosystem services (MAES); this provides a key instrument for an improved integration of wetlands in policy.
SWOS will take full advantage of the Sentinel satellites and integrate results from the ESA Globwetland projects. Status maps and indicators, as well as near real time observations will allow the assessment of biodiversity and the monitoring of dynamic changes in an unmatched temporal and spatial resolution.
With a budget of 5 M over 3 years under the coordination of: JENA-OPTRONIK GMBH, the SWOS project team includes users (working at different levels and scales), scientists and private companies: 12 partners (from: Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Greece, France, and Belgium), with the participation of EMWIS as partner focusing on the needs of water resources managers in EU and Mediterranean areas, and with the participation of Tour du Valat/ Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory as a key partner specially focussing on the development of indicators.
SWOS contributes to establishing a Global Wetland Observing System, as requested by Ramsar, it will facilitate local and EU monitoring tasks and input into international reporting obligations.
SWOS will position Europe in a leading role for wetland activities within the GEO ecosystem, biodiversity, water, land cover tasks. The direct involvement of users working at different scales and support of key user organizations ensures the usability and acceptance of the service, the harmonization with related activities and a long-term impact.
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