The aim of this pilot project is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of harmonised and proven satellite based methods for the assessment of disturbances in European forests.
The methods are developed to enable the client, i.e. EC/DGVI, and national forest authorities to conduct long-term monitoring of effects caused by air pollution, climatic stress, insect attack, storm, and fire damage.
The implementation of the proposed methods is aimed, firstly, at evaluating the possibility of complementing or partly replacing field inventories in the Level I forest plots set up by the EC/DGVI in a 16 x 16km grid. Statistical aggregation of Level I plot results allows the identification of NUTS regions where comprehensive local monitoring is of interest. Secondly, harmonised local monitoring methods will be demonstrated to local and national forest authorities in provincial NUTS regions within the four major European forest ecosystem regions. The system created within this conceptual framework will enable sample based monitoring at the European level at a reduced cost, providing a statistical basis for decisions on where to apply comprehensive local surveys, and will also include harmonised methods for local surveys.
Methods using Landsat TM and SPOT data for assessment of the environmental problems addressed; air pollution effects, climatic stress, insect attack, storm and fire damage have been evaluated in earlier efforts. However, the methods used in different European regions and climate zones need harmonising. Analysis and compilation of obtainable accuracies for the different damage types as compared to end user requirements are also needed. The project includes a minor element of methodological development evaluating the possibility to improve existing techniques by the use of new high resolution satellite data such as IRS-1C, MOMS, and ADEOS.
To reach these general objectives, the project aims at the following measurable goals:
- To compare and harmonise satellite techniques and classification systems used in the four major European forest ecosystem regions for defoliation and discoloration on assessable tree species, aiming at harmonised monitoring of the transnational Level I plot grid.
- To implement chosen techniques on Level I plots for two pilot satellite scenes in each of the four forest regions. To determine what percentage of the Level I plots will be assessable using satellite data with adequate accuracy, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of applied methods compared to the current field based Level I inventory.
- To demonstrate comprehensive monitoring of the different damage types on a demonstration area within each of the four major European forest ecosystem regions. These methods will vary between regions due to diverging forest and damage types and the availability of ancillary data such as digital forest maps and elevation models.
- To produce a detailed guidebook for the methods proposed and used, available both to associated end users and other general users.
- To identify advantages, weaknesses and cost-effectiveness of the demonstrated satellite based monitoring techniques compared to field and airborne surveys. A focal point is the comparison of user requirement: regarding accuracies for different parameters and at different scales on the one hand, and the achieved accuracies on the other.