This handbook aims to demonstrate how satellite images can support information-based management and planning of wetlands, with a focus on Africa. It serves as a manual and roadmap on how to use available remote sensing data and tools for wetland planning and management challenges. However, the handbook is also applicable to other ecosystems and regions outside of Africa.
The handbook was developed specifically for wetland managers and practitioners. It aims to facilitate the uptake of satellite-based approaches by showcasing their applicability and providing concrete examples to guide and inspire their implementation. The manual specifi-cally refers to the GEOclassifier toolbox which was developed for wetland managers in the context of several internationally funded projects. This toolbox is available free of charge. It can be used, for example, to display and analyse satellite images and to map or classify wetland extents and conditions and changes thereof. The resulting satellite products can help to visualize improvements or degradation of wetlands, plan and discuss management measures and foster communication among experts and stakeholders or with the general public. This handbook has been prepared as part of the research and development project “Wetland-Afrika”. The project is introduced in the following section of this chapter. Chapter 2 shortly outlines the state of wetlands in Africa, typical drivers of change and restoration op-tions. Chapters 3 and 4 offer hands-on insights on how to obtain relevant information, based on remote sensing data and tools that are available free of charge. In chapter 5, the handbook introduces the products that can be generated with the GEOclassifier toolbox regarding satellite-based maps and indicators. In order to put maps and indicators into a broader context of application, chapter 6 outlines the applicability of the products in relation to the challenges that wetland management, planning and reporting face. Finally, chapter 7 includes a series of unique case studies prepared by wetland managers and practitioners from different countries and regions across Africa. The examples reflect on wetland challenges and suggest how Earth observation information can help to address these challenges by integrating it into planning and management as well as communication and coopera-tion among wetland stakeholders.