Applying remote observations to silvicultural processes
On the 19th of November 2018, the Croatian Forest Institute hosted an international workshop to showcase forest stakeholders the use and applications of satellite remote sensing to forest silviculture. Some 60 participants from 30 state and private companies took part in a workshop dedicated to share the implementation of the latest remote sensing technologies in the HŠD premises in Zagreb. The workshop was held in the framework of the EU HORIZON 2020 project My Sustainable Forest, led by GMV Aerospace (Madrid, Spain). The workshop was organized by Dr. Sc. Ivan Pilaš and Dr. Sc. Ivan Balenović, from the Croatian Forestry Institute (HŠI) in Jastrebarsko.
My Sustainable Forest seeks the consolidation of a forestry management web service, based on remote observations (satellite images, Lidar, etc.) that can greatly improve various forestry and silvicultural production processes. The basis of the service leans upon the satellite images of the new European Missions Sentinel 1, 2 and 3, as part of the European Copernicus Terrestrial Observing System, with a spatial resolution (pixel) of 10 – 20 m. The Sentinel mission allow obtaining a relatively high resolution images that are globally available to users, typically every five days, at no cost.
In addition, other 11 European partners participate in the project (H2020 no. 776045): HŠI as the representative of the Republic of Croatia, Research Institute for Forest and Paper Raiz, Navigator Corporation from Portugal, Mendel University of Brno and associated university forest company Masaryk Forest in Křtiny Czech Republic, Association of forest landowners from Navarre in Spain, the Madera + forestry service company and the Föra company from Spain, the Association of Private Foresters in Lithuania (FOAL), the National Centre for Private Foresters of France and the European Forest Institute (EFI) based in Finland. The project envisages the production of applications based on satellite and Lidar images for specific purposes within various forest operations (forest inventory, forest management, forest protection, health monitoring, etc.) in order to be easily accessible, high resolution and fully operational in forestry.
The main overview of the project and characteristics of the service was presented by the project leader Dr. Sc. Julia Yagüe from GMV. The service is currently in the testing phase, with 2019 it should be fully functional, and fully completed in 2020. For each of the selected areas of interest (AOI) of project partners, the creation of a special operating interface with the selected products is planned. In Croatia two test sites were selected for the purpose of the field of lowland forests of oak forests: Pokupni bazen in UCP Karlovac in the western continental part of Croatia and the lowland forest area of UŠP Našice, as well as the Spačva complex, UŠP Vinkovci in the eastern continental part of Croatia.
Computer expert Valerio Platania of GMV has presented detailed components of the service platform. The platform is modular, ie composed in such a way that different products can be added depending on the user’s desire.
Services provide a detailed overview of the structure and functions of forests such as: structural elements of stands, wood quality, biomass and carbon stock, ecosystem features and economic value of forests. One of the main advantages of the platform is the possibility of implementing digital inventory noise using Lidar technology, which greatly reduces fieldwork and increases the reliability of the measurement. The platform also allows the addition of user data for the validation of satellite and Lidar information.
Dr. Sc. Ivan Pilaš et al. sc. Ivan Balenović from HŠI presented their share of the project in areas of interest. Research dr. sc. Balenovic is based on the comparison of the possibility of obtaining detailed data on the basic parameters of forest stands using aerial photographs and Lidar recordings, while dr. sc. The file shows the possibilities of using radar images of Sentinel 1 satellites in detecting changes in the forest cover. Dr. sc. Iñigo Lizarralde from Föra testified about the great benefit of Spain’s comprehensive Lidar shooting for industry, education and administration, financially secured by the government. The gain of such a recording is particularly noticeable in the inventory of forests, as the proportion of field measurements to be performed is significantly reduced.
Alan Novkinić from the UCP Koprivnica and Ivan Brezovac from UŠP Osijek spoke about the drones that were purchased as part of the Red Faith program. Novkinić presented concrete applications and results in the area of Croatian forests d.o.o. and highlighted the great advantage of fast data acquisition, which is particularly useful on inaccessible terrain. Brezovac presented the technical data and informed the present that a data processing program was purchased with the dron. Boris Ljubojević from the Project for Services co-financed by the EU funds in the Directorate of Croatian Forests explained that in the final phase of the project, it is planned to issue manuals for revisers who would then be in charge of the management of drones, data processing and their input into the geoportal.
Davor Šelendić, employed in the Forest Management Service at the Directorate (Hrvatske šume d.o.o.), suggested that some functional geo-referenced recordings be placed on the web portal of Hrvatskih šuma d.o.o. so that they are available to all employees for all the stated needs. He found that it is necessary to achieve a sufficient accuracy of 80 or 90% for admission into legislation.
Darko Pleskalt from the Ecology Department in the Directorate referred to the needs of assessing the health status for forest protection, which is important in planning financial costs and evaluating completed works. He said that this technology expects the possibility of assessing the success of treating forest pests.
Representative of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Zagreb, prof. dr. sc. Irena Šapić from the Institute for Ecology and Forestation talked about the mapping project of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The biggest problem highlighted the low availability of satellite images.
Dr. sc. Mateo Gasparovic from the Faculty of Geodesy in Zagreb has paid attention to the landscapes of the Landsat mission that last 35 years and from which a 15 metered fusion channel can be obtained with multispectral footage for the entire world, almost every month of the year, depending on the shape.
Representative of the Research Institute for Forests and Paper Raiz from Portugal Margarida Mendes Silva and the representative of the French National Center for Forestry (CNPF) Benjamin Chapelet have highlighted a large number of owners in their countries, causing a great fragmentation of the land. Therefore, they pointed out that from this project they expect an overview of the overall situation. Prof. dr. Gintautas Mozgeris of the Association of Private Foresters of Lithuania (FOAL) informed the attendees that Lithuanian forestry since the 1950s was based on aerial photographs.
Dr. sc. Lumír Dobrovolný et al. sc. Zdeněk Patočka from the University of Mendel in Brno as a major problem in the Czech forestry, but also at the level of entire Central Europe, pointed out contagion infection. They believe that new methods will help with the speed of the spread of the attack.
Valentino Marini Govigli and Eduard Mauri of the EFI Mediterranean Facility in Barcelona, Spain, talked about the economic aspect of using remote research methods. It is said that the EU requires harmonisation of the criteria and terminology at the level of regions and states, based on which the standards of mapping and economic evaluation of timber stock will be created. It is jointly concluded that the greatest effect is achieved by using all available data with the emphasis on combining various methods and technologies.