Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Forest management becomes more precise

Forest management is an essential aspect of every European country's environmental and resource management programme. It is crucially important to effectively and precisely conduct forest inventories that provide vital information to protect the forests' ecology, maintain timber yields and construct efficient environmental regulations. In order to facilitate the work of environmental agencies a consortium of researchers designed innovative software algorithms that process environmental satellite and digital photography data for precise structural forest information and inventories.
Forest management becomes more precise
Satisfying the needs of environmental, government and timber agencies means keeping a careful equilibrium between what is required for environmental conservation, ecological management, and timber business survival. This shaky balance is notoriously difficult to preserve. Fortunately, the development of the EARS-FLIM and EARS_DPS software facilitates this challenging task by achieving a satellite-based system that monitors and conducts inventories of forest timber and forest vitality in Europe.

The software algorithms were founded on the Forest Light Interaction Model (FLIM) that measures forest canopy reflection via calculations of crown cover (trees' shadows cast over the ground) and the plant area index so as to attain structural forest information. This consortium took the pre-existing FLIM model and inverted it so as to design an algorithm that can process Landsat satellite data. Thus, the EARS-FLIM software was created for satellite data processing. Similarly, the research group of Dutch, French, Italian, German, British, and Finnish professionals constructed the EARS-DPS software that conducts forest inventories on the ground using digital photography.

Furthermore, these two software programmes could be utilised by anyone who conducts forest monitoring using environmental satellites, including the Landsat. It is interesting to note that this innovative system has been used in various European test sites, and has been proven to work especially well in flat and homogeneous forests. Perhaps these two software algorithms will help preserve the environment, conserve resources, assist government decision-making, as well as help the timber business.

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Record Number: 80482 / Last updated on: 2005-09-18
Domain: Environment