Use of Remote Sensing to Inventory Mountain Peatlands in Lesotho

Peng Gao, Carl C. Trettin, Chang Yi

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


lesotho, mountain-peatlands, remote-sensing, wetland-inventory

Gao et al 2012: Use of Remote Sensing to Inventory Mountain Peatlands in Lesotho


Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands


Remote sensing is the only practical means of conducting a detailed inventory of wetlands in remote mountainous regions. In this paper we assess two different approaches for using remote sensing data to inventory wetlands in the Lesotho Maloti Mountains. An inventory was conducted in 2004 using SPOT5 imagery with the wetlands delineated optically by an operator. To assess the accuracy of that inventory we selected a first-order watershed forming the headwaters of the Motete River, and delineated the wetland areas using classification software on high resolution IKONOS 2006 imagery. Those determinations using SPOT imagery were compared to those identified from IKONOS imagery and known ground points to assess the accuracy of the wetland boundary. The manual delineation of wetlands resulted in an overestimate of the area, primarily due to difficulties accurately tracing intricate boundaries as compared to the high resolution digital assessment.