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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5256-5282;

Definitions and Mapping of East African Wetlands: A Review

Remote Sensing Research Group (RSRG), University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Remote Sensing Centre, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, Ecoscience Precinct, Level 2B West, 41 Boggo Road Dutton Park, GPO BOX 5078, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL), University of Bonn, Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alisa L. Gallant and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 12 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Remote Long-Term Monitoring of Wetland Landscapes)
Full-Text   |   PDF [25438 KB, uploaded 27 April 2015]   |  


Wetlands provide invaluable ecosystem services and contribute significantly to food security around the world. To maintain these functions, wetlands need to be protected from rapid transformation and overuse. Spatially-explicit information is required for sustainable wetland management. Development of wetland maps based on remote sensing requires a clear-cut definition of wetlands. This review was undertaken to improve the understanding of these habitats from a remote sensing perspective and to determine available wetland map layers for the East African countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. This study includes three components: (1) a review of the availability and types of wetland definitions from the scientific literature record (including 245 separate references); (2) a systematic analysis of land use/land cover classifications and the conceptual approaches and spatial coverages of wetland classes for each system; and (3) a depiction of wetland layers and a discussion of their suitability for use in regional inventories. Our literature review shows that a standard definition of wetlands is not in use, and a specific definition of wetlands is not given in more than 40% of the reviewed remote sensing publications. Spatial information on East African wetlands is currently insufficient for use in regional wetland management. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetland mapping; wetland definitions; land use/land cover classifications; East Africa wetland mapping; wetland definitions; land use/land cover classifications; East Africa

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Amler, E.; Schmidt, M.; Menz, G. Definitions and Mapping of East African Wetlands: A Review. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 5256-5282.

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