Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Wetlands classification and assessment of Ramsar sites in China based on time series Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery

Liwei Xing A B , Zhenguo Niu A C , Panpan Xu A and Dachong Li A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, P.R. China.

B Satellite Surveying and Mapping Application Center, National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, 1 Baishengcun, Zizhuyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100048, P.R. China.

C Corresponding author. Email: niuzg@radi.ac.cn

Marine and Freshwater Research 69(5) 658-668 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17119
Submitted: 1 May 2017  Accepted: 1 September 2017   Published: 14 November 2017

Abstract

Globally, wetland loss and degradation have become serious environmental and ecological issues. Wetland monitoring of Ramsar sites in China is important for developing reasonable strategies to protect wetlands. Satellite image time series may be used for the long-term monitoring of wetland ecosystems. The present study used moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) time series data collected in 2001 and 2013 for 20 Ramsar sites in China and assessed the environmental status of these reserves using landscape metrics. The results showed that specific seasonal wetland classes, such as flooded mud, permanent water and seasonal marshes, can be identified using MODIS time series data with acceptable accuracy. In addition to wetland area, we suggest using other landscape metrics, including landscape integrity and landscape disturbance or degradation indices, to assess wetland environmental quality. The slight wetland loss (0.8%) noted in the 20 reserves evaluated herein could indicate the effectiveness of efforts of the Chinese government and local government agencies to protect Ramsar sites. The existing unfavourable environmental conditions, which were manifested by low landscape integrity and high landscape disturbance or degradation for some reserves, were caused primarily by increasing water requirements outside the reserves and by agricultural development within reserves. Therefore, determining how to balance relationships between economic development and ecological protection of the reserves will be important in the future.

Additional keywords: landscape metric, wetland remote sensing.


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