Developing a Wetland Inventory System for Newfoundland and Labrador using Advanced Remote Sensing Technologies.
Wetlands: Nature’s Kidneys
The most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, wetlands play an important role in environmental health, contributing to water purification, flood control, and shoreline stability, as well as providing habitat for a wealth of plant and animal life. Yet wetlands in boreal systems remain poorly understood. Today, new technologies are offering the potential to map our province’s wetlands in a thorough, detailed and cost-effective manner.
Canada owns approximately 25% of the world's total wetlands. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most wetland-rich provinces in Canada, but it is the only province in Atlantic Canada that lacks a wetland inventory system. Led by C-CORE’s Dr. Salehi as principal investigator, a team of his Ph.D. and MSc students in Memorial Universities Faculty of Engineering and Department of Geography have developed an advanced and semi-automatic remote sensing image processing framework for wetland classification. The framework comprises multiple algorithms including segmentation, feature extraction, and random forest classification to map wetlands and classify them into five major wetland classes according to the Canadian Wetland Inventory system: bog, fen, marsh, swamp, and shallow water.
The project is broadly collaborative, engaging a wide range of partners: C-CORE and several federal and provincial organizations including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Provincial Department of Environment and Conservation Wildlife Division and Water Resource Management Division, and Nature Conservancy Canada. Several peer-reviewed journals and conference publications have been derived from this work, most are listed on this website and available online or by request to Dr. Salehi. The method has been developed and tested on five sites across the province and now we are in the phase of automatic generation of provincial wetland inventory and wetland monitoring.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change, the former Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador - RDC (now InnovateNL), and Ducks Unlimited Canada. The SAR imagery was provided by the Canada Center for Mapping and Earth Observation and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Field data was collected by various organizations including, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation, and Nature Conservancy Canada. We thank these organizations for the financial supports and providing such valuable datasets.