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A symbol of biodiversity and constant change: the mud and sand flats of the Wadden Sea

Anyone who is familiar with the mud and sand flats of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark often on first impression considers them to be a grey-brown, hostile to life, scarcely changeable landscape. On closer examination the opposite proves to be the case. UNESCO has declared these mud and sand flats a World Heritage Site with good reason. The area contains a greater than average variety of plant and animal species, has the largest unbroken area of mud and sand flats in the world, and as a result of the tides a highly dynamic coastline.

Wadden Sea - Island of Trischen

On the occasion of UNESCO World Earth Day 2020 we present as our “aerial image of the month” a small but interesting section of the Wadden Sea: the uninhabited island of Trischen. This island lies close to the mouth of the Elbe River in the North Sea.

The island, at first glance, looks like jellyfish swimming in a leftward direction but is in actual fact a highly dynamic, untouched isle off the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein.   Nowhere else in the world can such a dynamic landscape, moulded by wind and tide, containing a great variety of natural habitats be found.

Trischen is part of Schleswig-Holstein’s tidal flat national park. The island is uninhabited; however it is by no means a location of silence and inactivity. Migratory birds use the island as breeding grounds and a resting area. Up to 100,000 birds have been counted on the island within an area of 2 square kilometres. Norderney (a German North Sea island) with an area 13 times larger than Trischen can “only” accommodate 50,000 overnight guests.

The Wadden Sea is one of 46 UNESCO nature and cultural heritage sites in Germany. These include architectural and artistic works, a variety of cultivated landscapes and parks, unique natural areas and sites which testify to societal and technological development.

In the aerial photo the central section of the island appears red. This is due the particular camera technology applied. In this case the camera captures not only the colours of the visible spectrum - red, green blue - but also infrared waves. Such a colour channel enables a differentiated image of the vegetation. This type of colour channel combination is often used for land and forestry applications as well as for biotype mapping for conservation and environmental protection purposes.

In 2020 Hansa Luftbild will capture imagery of the entire German and Dutch North Sea coast including the Wadden Sea and its islands.

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