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H2020

DIABOLO Report Summary

Project ID: 633464
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIABOLO (Distributed, integrated and harmonised forest information for bioeconomy outlooks)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Europe’s bioeconomy is expected to foster economic growth and to tackle significant societal challenges with less harmful environmental effects through innovative, sustainable and inclusive use of European forest resources. Increasing demand for biomass and other ecosystem goods and services calls for changes in forest-related policies at different levels and across different sectors. Accordingly, the recent Forest Strategy provides clear signals towards the need for harmonised information for mapping and assessing the dynamic state of forest ecosystems and their services.
Building upon scientific advances in COST E4, 39, 43, USEWOOD, FORSYS, ORCHESTRA; the networks ENFIN, EFFIS, SOSIN; the FP7 EUFODOS, S2BIOM, INTEGRAL, SIMWOOD, FIRE PARADOX the project DIABOLO aims to:
i) strengthen the methodological framework towards more accurate, harmonised and timely forest information, e.g. on growing stock and stock changes, biomass, carbon, NWFP; enable the analysis of sustainable biomass supply derived from multipurpose and multisource national forest inventories; and facilitate near real-time forest disturbance monitoring, e.g. on forest fires, storm, drought, insect outbreaks;
ii) support EU policy processes, international reporting obligations, forest administration and forest planning entities with new methodologies and EU-wide consistent forest information;
iii) make innovative use of existing field-collected data and EC space-based applications of EO and satellite positioning systems with reference to INSPIRE and GEOSS, and global monitoring systems such as REDD+, FLEGT and UNFF.
To deliver high impact, beyond state-of-the-art work within the ecological and socio-economic diversity in Europe, the trans-disciplinary DIABOLO involves experts in quantitative modelling, policy science and NFIs, from 26 European countries, committed to provide new methodologies and information for various end-uses, including EFDAC (FISE) at JRC, GLOBIOM at IIASA and work at FAO/UNECE.

The specific objectives of DIABOLO are:
i) To clearly identify the demands for and gaps in the provision of forest data and information for different political levels to improve knowledge communication and information exchange between political decision makers, forest managers and forest data providers (WP 1).
ii) To develop new methods and models to produce European wide harmonised data and information on growing stock, biomass and carbon, based on NFI field data and high-resolution remote sensing data and to produce an innovative multisource system for providing up-to-date estimates on the state and changes in European forest ecosystems (WP 2).
iii) To provide a holistic analysis of the National Forest Inventories (NFIs) as multipurpose data sources and to improve the forest information availability and quality, as well as to explore the combined use of NFI and Earth observation data to improve current methods and input information for delivering indicators on forest spatial patterns and their changes (WP3).
iv) To improve forest disturbance monitoring systems (e.g. on forest fires, storm, drought, insect outbreaks) at regional, national and European scale by using new European satellite data (e.g. Sentinel 1 and 2), thus providing near real time information on forest disturbance and its impact on biomass and tree species distribution (WP4).
v) To deepen insight into the long-term sustainability of biomass supply and trade-offs between biomass supply and other ecosystem products and services by using European Forestry Dynamics Model (EFDM) in different European countries with a linkage to a global market equilibrium model (GLOBIOM) (WP 5).
vi) To increase the impact of the project outcomes among the target audiences and stakeholders by disseminating results, e.g. methodologies available for end-users from WP 1, WP 3, WP 4 and WP 5 through WP-specific end-user panels, regional workshops and a high-level international advisory group (WP 6).
vii) To implement and maintain an efficient management structure, including financial management, to coordinate the work and timing of the deliverables and contributions of the partners, to insure interaction among the WPs (WP 7).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"WP 1 has gathered information based on a literature review; two surveys targeting data providers and users across 19 different European countries; analysis of EU policy documents with forest relevance; completed 40 interviews with data providers in Sweden, Germany, Spain and at EU level; and an expert workshop in Vienna together with BFW. Two reports was delivered: a list of policies relevant for sustainable multipurpose forestry at EU level, and a list of data demanded by policies, policy makers and key forest managers at different political levels and for different policy areas.

In WP 2 a deliverable was completed to present the harmonisation of stem volume data; to describe the current situation in NFIs highlighting the five basic items in the growing stock definitions of European NFIs that can be responsible for the lack of comparability of estimates, to explore harmonisation options on possible reference definitions and bridging functions. A common database was also established to elaborate the new generation of volume and biomass equations for the main tree species in Europe. In parallel, a method to generate pseudo-data from the worldwide database Globallometree.org and the conceptual framework for compatible biomass and volume equations was developed. In addition, related to T-LIDAR algorithms (i) the first version of plot processing pipeline was created under the open platform Computree (publically available with Computree account); (ii) error patterns on the pipeline are being assessed (117 trees of different tree species, well described both with T-Lidar and destructive measurements); (iii) the first runs on lidar scans of NFI plots were performed using the pipeline and qualitative assessment of the reconstructed trees. Further, in relation to the general, flexible and powerful estimation procedures that combine NFI field data and auxiliary information from remote sensing and maps: (i) multi-phase estimation procedures approaches were identified in the literature and will be implemented in the next period, (ii) a review in the area of information extraction from aerial images was undertaken in order to support testing software and settings for image matching for producing canopy height models. Study areas were selected, image data was sourced and canopy height models were derived. For forest management level inventory, the study concept with potential case studies was defined based on a review "A method for the derivation and assessment of most relevant parameters in forest management level inventory".

In WP 3 forest biodiversity and conservation status indicators were developed in five participating countries (Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain). Based on the results, those countries selected the NFI compatible indicators to be further tested in case study areas. Additionally, connectivity analysis will be developed in three study areas (Denmark, Wales in the UK and Castile and León y Spain). The suitability of NFI data to estimate cork, mushroom and nuts (Pinus pinea) production was analysed. The methodology to estimate cork production in Spain was established. For social indicators, a questionnaire “Overview and potential of NFI-data for use in outdoor recreation assessments” to be sent to all European NFI’s was designed. For the identification of indicators relevant for the protective function of forests against wind storms, a preliminary analysis was carried out by the Spanish NFI. In addition, the study set up for crown fire hazard assessment was designed.

WP 4 completed a state of the art analysis and the draft design of the system and its elements. Methods and setup of processing lines for pre-processing and disturbance mapping with optical data (focus on time series analysis of S2 and Landsat data) and of SAR data (focus on S1) were developed.

WP5 developed guidelines and a template for reporting the assumptions used for wood-based biomass supply scenarios.

WP6 has communicated the activities of the project to stakeholders using the most appropriate means. Primarily, this has been the project website, production of a poster for use by the partners, a project flyer also for use by the partners and Powerpoint slides for customisation by the partners for dissemination of the project at a local level. The guide in dissemination activities has been the project Dissemination, Exploitation and Communication Plan (DECP). WP has also provided to the project partners via the intranet guidance on Open Access (Green & Gold) via a document and a list of frequently asked questions and also raising awareness of predatory journals.

WP7 activities consisted in the administrative and financial management (Task T7.1), the establishment of progress monitoring and quality control tools (Task T7.3) and the organisation of internal communication and meetings (Task T7.3)."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The results from WP 1 already demonstrate that forest data and NFIs are considered important by forest policy makers and stakeholders, who predominantly use ‘traditional forest sector’ parameters in their work. However, there is little exchange of information across sectors, e.g. data users do not often rely on information sources from other sectors/policy areas than their own. In addition, data supply related to water protection, nature conservation and biodiversity, harvested wood and forest fires is not yet meeting the demand. Further, the data needs vary between political levels. For example, data on forest resources is highly demanded at all levels, data on forest carbon cycles is mostly demanded at international level, and data on biodiversity at national level, and data on public participation is most demanded at forest management unit level. The identification of gaps between data provision and use enables discussion on their cause and how they can be overcome. In addition, by demonstrating a rather small demand on social and governance parameters, the results of WP1 open up for a wider political discussion of how the balancing of the different dimensions of sustainable forest management is taking place, and should take place, in the transition to a bio-based economy. The WP1 is expected to gain great impact as our results are further disseminated in scientific articles and in dialogue with users and providers of forest data.

The methods developed by WP 2 contribute to harmonised and updated forest statistics at different scales in Europe, to consistent and timely information on the state and change of forest ecosystems over Europe and to small-area estimation techniques for multi-purpose management of forest goods and services.

The work carried out by WP 3 is expected to contribute towards NFI compatible estimates on biodiversity and conservation status indicators, production of non-wood forest products, forest hazards indicators (storms and forest fires) and social indicators.

In WP 4, progress has been made in the processing lines for pre-processing and disturbance mapping with optical data (focus on time series analysis of S2 and Landsat data) and of SAR data (focus on S1).

The use of guidelines developed in WP 5 facilitates harmonised national-level studies that could be further summed up to the European level. In addition, the use of guidelines would improve comparability of different European studies.

The main progress beyond the state of the art in WP 6 has been to raise awareness among the partners of the importance of open access and the options open to the partners for meeting the requirements of dissemination as described in the Grant Agreement. This is expected to result in an efficient implementation of the Grant Agreement from a dissemination viewpoint. WP6 has served to support the activities of WPs 1-5 through dissemination efforts and advising partners on dissemination through the implementation of the DECP. WP6 has the potential to add value to the work of the technical WPs (1-5) through far reaching dissemination activities, customised for each target group of stakeholders. WP6 has the potential to impact upon society through raising awareness of the project output among stakeholder communities at different geographic and political levels.

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