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The world's wetlands form a unique environment for natural species, but due to their fragility they are evermore under pressure. The study of the environment and the change elements which affect them are the core of this application area.

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Watching wetlands from space

23 July 2013

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The use of satellite data to monitor wetlands for sustainable water management is growing. Following promising results from monitoring efforts in the Mediterranean, ESA is working with African partners to expand its GlobWetland project even further.

In the heart of Jordan’s eastern desert, an oasis of marshland and natural water collection makes up the Azraq wetland.

The wetland and adjacent mudflat were recognised in 1977 as an important station for migratory birds by the Ramsar Convention - an intergovernmental treaty for the sustainable use of wetlands.

Over the years, the extraction of water for drinking and irrigation significantly reduced the Azraq's ground water levels. Between 1975 and 2005, the wetland area diminished by about 23 sq km while irrigated areas increased by almost 14 sq km, as observed through ESA's GlobWetland II project.

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