Wetlands

Hotspots of biodiversity; wetlands they are home to more than 100,000 freshwater species, essential for many amphibians and reptiles, for bird breeding and migration. For humans, wetlands provide invaluable ecosystem services. They regulate water availability and quality, filtration, purification, and nutrient cycling as well as provide food for millions of people. They absorb shocks from natural events such as floods and droughts and regulate climate through carbon storage.

Despite their richness in biodiversity and ecosystem services, wetlands are one of the fastest declining ecosystems worldwide  – 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. An increase in agricultural and urban land use change, infrastructure development, water diversion and pollution of air and water are some of the main factors causing their degradation and loss.

Information on the location of wetlands, their ecological character and their services is often sparse and difficult to find or access. Wetlands are often viewed as wastelands, to be drained, filled and converted to other purposes. Ignorance and misunderstanding of their role therefore results in limited coverage of wetlands in policies and management practices" (SWOS Portal, 2018)

 

Sources

SWOS. (2018). www.swos-service.eu

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Ayan Santos Fleischmann is a hydrologist with a particular interest in wetlands and large-scale basins, mainly in South America and Africa, and in the context of human impacts on water resources. His main study approaches involve remote sensing techniques and hydrologic-hydrodynamic modeling, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with other disciplines such as ecology and social sciences. Currently, he is a researcher at the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development (Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil), where he leads the Research Group in Geospatial Analysis of the Amazonian Environment and Territory. He also leads the Conexões Amazônicas initiative for science communication about the Amazon Basin. Ayan holds a PhD degree from UFRGS, with a collaborative period at Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (France). His Ph. D. thesis focused on the hydrology of the South American wetlands. Ayan holds an Environmental Engineering degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), with a research stay at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. In this interview, we talked to him about his career path, the work he has been developing in Brazil with wetlands and floods, and his work in the Amazon River basin.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

Interview with Dr. Ayan Santos Fleischmann, Lead, Research Group in Geospatial Analysis of the Amazonian Environment and Territory

Ayan Santos Fleischmann is a hydrologist with a particular interest in wetlands and large-scale basins, mainly in South America and Africa, and in the context of human impacts on water resources. His main study approaches involve remote sensing techniques and hydrologic-hydrodynamic modeling, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with other disciplines such as ecology and social sciences. Currently, he is a researcher at the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development (Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil), where he leads the Research Group in Geospatial Analysis of the Amazonian Environment and Territory. He also leads the Conexões Amazônicas initiative for science communication about the Amazon Basin. Ayan holds a PhD degree from UFRGS, with a collaborative period at Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (France). His Ph. D. thesis focused on the hydrology of the South American wetlands. Ayan holds an Environmental Engineering degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), with a research stay at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. In this interview, we talked to him about his career path, the work he has been developing in Brazil with wetlands and floods, and his work in the Amazon River basin.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

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Local Perspectives Case Studies

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Photo of Stuart Crane

Stuart Crane

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Mr Stuart Crane, has been a Programme Management Officer at the United Nations Environment Program and its Center for Water and Environment since 2017. Mr Crane has experience in international intergovernmental organizations since 2009 and dedicated large parts of his career to working on environmental issues such as energy, climate change and water. His professional background is in Environmental Quality and resource management, and he received his post graduate degree in International Development.

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