Meeting in Portugal to refine My Sustainable Forest platform
Horizon 2020 MySustainableForest project, held the third Stakeholders workshop of remote data users for sustainable forest management, in Aveiro, Portugal, on January 28th 2020; the event was hosted by RAIZ in the historic Quinta San Francisco Eucalyptus Arboretum. RAIZ is the Forest and Paper Research of the NAVIGATOR Company, the first European eucalypt pulp producer.
The workshop gathered over 30 R&D institutions, geospatial information companies and forest transformation sectors in Portugal such as forest owners associations (AFBV, UNAC), forest managing companies (Abastena, AltriForestal), representatives of the Pinus pinaster -Maritime pine- sector, nurseries and genetic material (Centro Pinus), pulp and paper industries (NAVIGATOR, ALTRI, CELPA, ENCE), laminates (Sonae Arauco), insurance companies (Fidelidade) and public administrations. A lively dialogue was established Project members, both product developers (GMV, föra, Madera+ and EFI) and validators across European forests of eucalyptus, pine, oak and fir (RAIZ , FORESNA, CNPF, CFRI and FOAL).
Silvicultural management based on remote data – satellite, LiDAR, sonic and climate – is an instrument aligned with the European Green Deal: Forest ecosystems are under increasing pressure, as a result of climate change. The EU’s forested area needs to improve, both in quality and quantity, for the EU to reach climate neutrality and a healthy environment. Sustainable re-forestation and afforestation and the restoration of degraded forests can increase absorption of CO2 while improving the resilience of forests and promoting the circular bio-economy. Building on the 2030 biodiversity strategy, the Commission will prepare a new EU forest strategy covering the whole forest cycle and promoting the many services that forests provide.
The new EU forest strategy will have as its key objectives effective afforestation, and forest preservation and restoration in Europe, to help to increase the absorption of CO2, reduce the incidence and extent of forest fires, and promote the bio-economy, in full respect for ecological principles favourable to biodiversity. The national strategic plans under the common agricultural policy should incentivise forest managers to preserve, grow and manage forests sustainably. Building on the Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests, the Commission will take measures, both regulatory and otherwise, to promote imported products and value chains that do not involve deforestation and forest degradation.
In line with the European Green Deal, Dr. Nuno Borrahlo, Head of the Forest Research Unit at RAIZ, highlighted the focus of activities, aiming to increase the competitive advantage and productivity of the forest, pulp, and paper industry. RAIZ research uplifts production amongst small Portuguese forest owners, consolidating good silvicultural practices, controlling species genetics, pests and pollutants, recovering fire-degraded soils and preforming extensive reforestation.
MySustainableForest producers GMV, föra, Madera+ and EFI have issued over 250 forest management products since December 2017. During the workshop, the platform was used to present the most emblematic products from Portuguese areas of interest in Baixo Bouga, Caniceira, Quintarrei and ZIF da Charneca da Calha do Grou.
Sentinel 2 automated products were presented, for management operations at 0.1ha scale average: forest mask, dominant species, stand age, burnt and logged areas, pest extent, drought estimation and habitat fragmentation. 95% thematic accuracy is assured through artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. The Minimum Mapping Unit (MMU) is 0,1 ha (equivalent to 10 pixels/10m pixel). VHR satellite data were the basis to map forest infrastructure and the water network, as per MGCP standard adapted to scale 1: 2,000-1: 5,000.
LiDAR products are a most accurate tool for forest inventory tasks. High quality information of the forest mask, stand height, elevation, aspect and slope, stand density, above ground biomass and carbon stock make these products a “must-have-information” for management plans. The outmost product is the site index. Minimum Mapping Unit (MMU) is 20m and 5m for terrain products.
The fiber density product (Kg/m3) for Eucalyptus globulus has been obtained with a novel correlation model between field core data, non-invasive sonic data, physiographic data, LiDAR, multi-temporal satellites series and climate data. Sampling and validation sites were selected in Galicia and Portugal, where eucalyptus is key to the regional gross product. The trained algorithm has yield high correlation values (r2=0.71-Galicia-, 0.52 –Portugal-) allowing to map eucalyptus fiber density across broad areas, for stands aged 7 to 25.
The workshop highlighted the major issues Portuguese forest managers face in their day-to-day activities: preparation of the forest management plan (24%), pest and pest management (20%), management certification (17%), reforestation and afforestation work (13%), fire prevention and defense plans (10%), soil, water and biodiversity protection (10%), invasive species, carbon storage, forecasting of wood supplies and quality of the same.
Effective management in the targeted areas requires specific data, some of which can be obtained by remote records and provided by MySustainableForest: volume of biomass and associated carbon (29%), area affected by pests (27%), topography data of land (18%), inventory of forest infrastructure (13%), changes in land uses and covers (9%), non-timber production, age of the masses and operating costs (4%).
But obtaining the required thematic data presents serious challenges due to its lack of topicality (31%), due to its low accuracy (21%), due to the infrequent update (19%), due to the absence of critical moments (15%) or inadequacy of the scale. MySustainableForest products are designed to respond to these needs in sustainable forest management