Remote sensing method for GHG emission monitoring in wetlands

As a result of the 2019 research, the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) developed a remote sensing-based method for monitoring of greenhouse gases (GHG).


Research-based methods for the GHG emission measuring allow to identify human made impact on climate. As a result of human activities, GHG emissions have increased and resulted in global climate change. Therefore, Europe and many countries are trying to mitigate the effects of climate change by implementing different activities. GHG emission measuring before and after the implementation of these activities helps to understand if they are giving the planned results and if the impact of climate change is reducing.

Intact swamps serve as a natural GHG emission storage, but peat extraction and drainage disrupt this natural ecosystem and emissions are released. Latvia has commited to the UN Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol goals to implement a significant reduction in GHG emissions. This task requires an internationally comparable method for GHG monitoring that would give precise information about Latvia’s contribution to a global battle against the effects of climate change.


Previous studies showcase that the methods for monitoring of GHG emissions are expensive and time-consuming. IES’s researchers have developed a cost-efficient airborne data-based remote sensing method for GHG evaluation in wetland areas.

For the development of the method, IES’s researchers carried out data collection campaigns. The researched wetlands are located in the Slītere National Park, Lake Engure Nature Park, Gauja National Park and the Augstrozes Nature Reserve.


IES’s GHG monitoring method is based on the GEST (Greenhouse-gas emission site types) method that was developed by German researchers. Plant species that are growing in the wetland indicate water level in the area, which is a determining factor of GHG emission levels of the wetland.

IES’s researcher Rūta Abaja shares the experience in building new method: “We concluded that further adaptation of GEST method is necessary. Thus, helping to gain reliable, economically justified and time efficient GHG monitoring data. Such data will be especially relevant in the future. It is expected that starting from 2026, all EU countries will have to report the amount of GHG emissions generated by human activities in wetland areas.”


This research was implemented as part of Administration of Latvian Environmental Protection Fund project “Remote sensing methodology for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions in wetlands” No 1-08/146/2018.

Read more about the research here.