Because of climate change, storms and droughts increasingly affect the forests of Central Europe. This reduces their resistance to insect infestation. Bark beetle infestation has reached record levels in recent years. This has not only led to an economic damage of several hundred million euros for the Austrian and European forestry industry, but also to an impairment of the social and ecological functions of our forests. Current bark beetle monitoring services mostly rely on terrestrial methods, e.g. the determination of beetle populations using pheromone traps. Terrestrial methods deliver point-based information and cannot provide area-based information on the current infestation status. A rapid detection of new beetle infestations and a recording of the spatial distribution is not yet possible.
Satellite-based earth observation enables us to introduce an area-based approach to bark beetle monitoring and it allows us to track infestation over time.
Project duration 01.07.2020-30.06.2022.
The BEAT IT! project develops and explores new analytical tools for an area-based early detection of bark beetle infestation based on satellite images from the Sentinel missions. Our aim is to detect the new infestations as quickly as possible and thus to optimally support the planning of targeted response measures.
The methodological developments focus on three thematic areas:
- improved classification and separation of disturbance agents in forests
- a rapid detection of new bark beetle infestation (near real-time monitoring)
- a risk modelling of bark beetle infestation based on artificial intelligence (AI) approaches and up-to-date satellite image information
We implement and test novel methods of time series analysis and classification of satellite. We will validate the methods with field data from in recently infested forest stands of ÖBf and Fortbetrieb Seilern-Aspang.
In a proof-of-concept, the consortium will set up a prototype of a satellite-based bark beetle monitoring service after we have completed all methodological developments. Forest enterprises and forest administrations will test this prototype via an interactive web portal. Our aim is to enable forest enterprises to plan and carry out bark beetle response and control measures as early as possible. The participation of forest enterprises guarantees that all project developments are based on user requirements and the market needs.