Wetland monitoring technification for the Ecuadorian Andean region based on a multi-agent framework

Esteban Valencia, Iván Changoluisa, Kevin Palma, Patricio Cruz, Deyanira Valencia, Paul Ayala, Victor Hidalgo, Diego Quisi, Nelson Jara, Diana Puga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Remote sensing using satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has become an important tool for wetland delimitation and saturation assessment since they enable patterns identification and wetland saturation data collection in an agile and optimum way. However, their deployment and operative costs limit their implementation in harsh environments, such as the ones presented in the high Andean wetlands. In this context, this work presents a framework to monitor cost-effectively high Andean wetlands using a multi-agent approach based on: field testing, UAV orthomosaics, and satellite imagery. The method developed comprises two stages: i) definition of the monitoring agent (field testing, satellite, UAV) and ii) image processing. For these stages, semi-empirical and statistical models, which were developed in previous works are incorporated in an open-source framework to tailor each monitoring approach accordingly to the seasonality of a representative Andean wetland. The application of the method and its results highlight the suitability of using visual spectrum low-cost remote sensing approach to compute wetlands saturation percentage. In addition, the methodology proposed allowed the development of a temporal monitoring scheme, where the viability of each monitoring agent is examined. In order to validate the method, field data and multispectral imagery were employed using as case of study the Pugllohuma wetland located in the Antisana Reserve. Thus, the main contribution of this work lies in establishing a technified monitoring framework for the Ecuadorian high Andean wetlands, which can be scaled up and extrapolated to other wetlands with similar harsh environmental conditions, helping to their management and protection policies decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere09054
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the VLIR-UOS-SI-2020 ( EC2020SIN278A101 ), Corporación Ecuatoriana para el Desarrollo de la Investigación y Academia ( CEDIA CEPRA XII 12 2018 ), and by the Escuela Politécnica Nacional through the project PIGR 19-01 .

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the VLIR-UOS-SI-2020 (EC2020SIN278A101), Corporaci?n Ecuatoriana para el Desarrollo de la Investigaci?n y Academia (CEDIA CEPRA XII 12 2018), and by the Escuela Polit?cnica Nacional through the project PIGR 19-01.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • High Andean wetlands
  • Image processing
  • Monitoring
  • Satellite
  • UAVs


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