Wetland features in seasonally semi-arid islands pose particular difficulties in identification, inventory and conservation assessment. Our survey presents an application of utilizing images of a newly launched sensor, Landsat 8, to rapidly identify inland water bodies and produce a screening-level island-wide inventory of wetlands for the first time in Cyprus. The method treats all lentic water bodies (artificial and natural) and areas holding semi-aquatic vegetation as wetland sites. The results show that 179 sites are delineated by the remote sensing application and when this is supplemented by expert-guided identification and ground surveys during favourable wet-season conditions the total number of inventoried wetland sites is 315. The number of wetland sites is surprisingly large since it does not include micro-wetlands (under 2000 m2 or 0.2 ha) or widespread narrow lotic and riparian stream reaches. In Cyprus, a number of different wetland types occur and often in temporary or ephemerally flooded conditions and they are usually of very small areal extent. Many wetlands are artificial or semi-artificial water bodies, and numerous natural small wetland features are often degraded by anthropogenic changes or exist as remnant patches and are therefore heavily modified compared to their original natural state. The study proves that there is an urgent need for integrated and multidisciplinary study and monitoring of wetlands cover due to either climate change effects and/or anthropogenic interventions. Small wetlands are particularly vulnerable while many artificial wetlands are not managed for biodiversity values. The remote sensing and GIS application are efficient tools for this initial screening-level inventory. The need for baseline inventory information collection in support of wetland conservation is multi-scalar and requires an adaptive protocol to guide effective conservation planning.
Satellite products are utilized for numerous environmental applications nowadays including water quality monitoring and assessment. Various techniques have been developed during the last two decades for estimating environmental parameters such as chlorophyll-a and turbidity. In the context of this research effort, various algorithms have been developed to retrieve chlorophyll-a and turbidity values in Evros river, Greece, using satellite imageries of Landsat 5 TM. These imageries were obtained from United States Geological Survey (USGS) and covered the summer periods of 2008-2009 for chlorophyll-a and 2008-2011 for turbidity, respectively. Field data of relevant dates have been used for the development and validation of the remote sensing retrieval algorithms (separate datasets for the algorithm development and the validation process). The best applicable algorithms, using both the point sampling values and the remotely sensed data under different regression models, proved to be the ratio of TM4 /TM3 bands and logarithmical ratio of TM1/TM2 bands for the estimation of chlorophyll-a concentration and turbidity values, respectively. This process resulted in the generation of maps showing the distribution of chlorophyll-a and turbidity along the river. Validation of the selected algorithms was also conducted by comparing the estimated chl-a concentrations and turbidity values with the corresponding in-situ measurements of the validation datasets. The results indicated a relatively high coefficient of determination (R2), fact that characterizes the satellite developed algorithms reliable and efficient to monitor the chlorophyll-a concentration and turbidity in the particular riverine system.