Mapping wetland cover in the greater Himalayan region: a hybrid method combining multispectral and ecological characteristics uri icon


  • In the greater Himalayan region, wetland ecosystems such as lakes, marshes, and peat lands play an important role in regulating the flow of major rivers. These ecosystems are often overlooked and not well represented on land-use planning and conservation maps. Wetland complexes are partly ephemeral and difficult to map accurately either with digital image processing or visual interpretation. This study developed a hybrid method of extracting spatial patterns of wetland areas which combines month-on-month multispectral classifications of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer data with a sample wetland extraction method based on knowledge of the spectral characteristics of satellite data and wetland ecological systems. The results were compared with the best available sources for lakes and wetlands on global and national scales. It was demonstrated that the method could extract wetlands automatically to a reasonable degree of accuracy and, therefore, reduce the need for extensive ground knowledge. The model was transferred by adjusting parameters through application of high-resolution satellite data (Landsat) in some sub-basin areas. These findings are cognizant with field interviews conducted by wetland experts. The hybrid method and high-altitude wetlands maps will provide decision makers with valuable information about wetland distribution and change in response to global warming and human activities

publication date

  • 2014