Submitted to: Society of Wetland Scientists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 7, 2009
Publication Date: June 21, 2009
Citation: Lang, M.W., McCarty, G.W. 2008. The synergistic contributions of RADAR and LiDAR to the mapping and monitoring of forested wetlands [abstract]. Society of Wetland Scientists. 2009 CDROM. Technical Abstract: To regulate the loss, preservation, and/or restoration of wetlands and to judge the effectiveness of these efforts in preserving associated ecosystem services, wetlands must be routinely monitored. Wetland hydrology (e.g., flooding and soil moisture) is the most important non-biologic factor controlling wetland extent and function, and should therefore be a vital part of any wetland mapping or monitoring program. Watershed-scale forested wetland hydrology has been difficult to study with conventional remote sensing methods and the collection of this information on the ground is cost prohibitive. Optical data (e.g., aerial photographs) have traditionally been used to map wetlands but the ability of these data to detect hydrology is limited, especially in forested ecosystems. Two types of active systems, RADAR and LiDAR, have the potential to significantly improve our ability to map and monitor forested wetlands. These data provide distinct advantages and disadvantages which should be recognized and capitalized upon in order to best document forested wetland hydrology. Both RADAR and LiDAR have been used to monitor hydrology in a series of wetland depressions and flats in the headwaters of the Choptank River Watershed, an agricultural watershed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Remotely derived results have been compared with field data, existing wetland maps, and one another. Improved estimates of forested wetland extent and hydrology should allow for the estimation of key biogeochemical transformations (e.g., denitrification) and the provision of water quality services across the landscape.