Submitted to: Review Article
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2009
Publication Date: 9/15/2009
Citation: Lang, M.W., Awl, J., Wilen, B., McCarty, G.W., Galbraith, J. 2009. Improved wetland mapping through the use of advanced geospatial technologies. 31(5):6-93-30-31. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: For the United States to effectively manage its remaining wetlands, their abundance, distribution, boundaries, and inherent characteristics must be better understood. As natural resource management becomes more holistic and moves towards ecosystem management, the synoptic view that remotely sensed data provide will become increasingly important. Remote observation of wetlands is particularly necessary because they are often difficult to access on the ground, and on-site mapping at the landscape scale is usually cost prohibitive. Remotely sensed images aid our understanding of wetlands within a wider landscape setting and help to ensure wetland preservation via an increased appreciation of the services that wetlands provide and more informed management practices. Recent advances in the quality and availability of remotely sensed data, which have not traditionally been used to map wetlands, as well as the introduction of new processing and modeling methods, hold great potential for the further advancement of regional and national wetland mapping and monitoring efforts. Although it is unlikely that this novel geospatial data will completely replace the use of aerial photography or other fine resolution optical data, such data provide complementary information about wetland presence and function, which can be used to improve wetland mapping, as well as estimates of wetland condition and the provision of ecosystem services. These novel datasets, and the techniques necessary to capitalize upon them, are developing rapidly and quickly becoming available over much of the U.S. While this has led to an increased awareness of these new tools within the wetland mapping community, only through improved understanding of all available datasets, pilot studies, and operational implementation of hybrid approaches, will the full benefit of these new technologies be actualized.