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Forest Carbon Flux and Storage Mapping Service

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ForestFlux (Forest Carbon Flux and Storage Mapping Service)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30

Forest Flux will change the paradigm in utilizing Earth Observation for forest monitoring. Currently, several separate processing chains exist for EO data in forestry-related applications. The processing chains for forest structural variables prediction, forest flux predictions and forest and forest industry carbon balance have reached a certain state of maturity and are in operational use. Despite differences in spatial and temporal resolutions, the different processing chains deal with aspects of the same information – forest structural and biophysical parameters. Each chain uses only a subset of the available in situ and remote sensing information. Combining the three current processing chains Forest Flux eliminates this shortcoming and allows using best combinations of potential predictors for each output variable.

Sustainable forest management requires up-to-date and reliable information on not only forest structure, but also on its primary productivity and carbon stocks, and how they are expected to develop over time. Such information is also increasingly demanded, in addition to the forest management purposes, to ensure responsible asset management to the shareholders and to follow the European policies and treaties. Hence, the market drivers of Forest Flux are the needs for
• a complete and up-to-date description of existing forest resources at an affordable price,
• inclusion of carbon as one of the decision criteria for forest management, beyond the currently dominating timber volume and direct economic value.

The business value of up-to-date forest resource data are the same as in any business process; knowing the existing inventory of the production resources is the basis for all production planning. The role of carbon as an aspect to plan for is driven by the climate change process and the attempts to mitigate it.

The overall objective of the Forest Flux project is to foster the development of Copernicus Earth Observation (EO) market and improve the profitability of forest management by implementing a world-first service of high-resolution maps of forest carbon fluxes, storage and their development over time. A commercial service platform that produces and integrates these products with the business processes of end users is being set up. Forest Flux will allow the users to improve the profitability of forest management while taking care of the ecological sustainability.

To achieve the overall the following specific objectives have to be met:
1. Assure the scientific coherence and accuracy of the Forest Flux products on large geographic scales (realized in Work Package WP1 Technical development and subsystem prototyping).
2. Implement a scalable modular computation system for predicting forest structural variables, carbon stocks and fluxes, and the total carbon footprint on a commercially available computing platform (WP 2 Technical implementation of the service).
3. Openly demonstrate the value of the services to the wider user community (WP 3 Pilots).
4. Perform a complete system integration with the existing business processes of the user (WP 4 User involvement).
5. Remove technical and communication barriers from European companies and institutions in using carbon flux and storage information in their operational decision-making (WP 5 Market development).
The first period of the project started in December 2018 and ended in November 2019. The project work progressed as planned. Two planned milestones were successfully achieved and eleven scheduled deliverables were submitted.

During the period the work focused in two key areas: in communication with the users and development of the services. Users’ expectations for the Forest Flux services and requirements for the first pilot services were collected through bilateral workshops between Forest Flux partners and the users. Service Agreements were prepared and signed.

Based on the user requirements and pre-defined service selection eight Forest Flux services were specified:
• Forest Inventory
• Forest Monitoring
• Forest ecology inventory
• Forest ecology monitoring
• Biomass and carbon inventory
• Yearly or seasonal averaged carbon flux
• Biomass and carbon flux monitoring and forecast
• Total annual/seasonal carbon balance of a forest owning organization

Production chains and required data sets for the service production were defined and implemented as services on the Forestry-TEP cloud platform. The quality assurance system for the services was developed and reference data collection from very high resolution satellite images was initiated to complement reference data available from the users. The models used in carbon flux computation were extended to temperate region.

Based on the Service Agreements and the developed services a plan for implementing nine pilots in Finland, Germany Portugal, Romania, Paraguay and Scotland was created and their implementation was started in September 2019.

Forest Flux dissemination included activities in social media, conferences and workshops. The project web pages (forestflux.eu) were updated regularly.
Forest Flux services for the structural forest variable estimation were implemented on the Forestry-TEP cloud platform. Implementation of the carbon flux variable services was started. To our knowledge such services are not available under a similar framework. Forest growth models based on physiological processes were parametrized also to the temperate zone in addition to the former parametrization for the boreal zone.

At the end of the project a commercial service package for forest structural and carbon flux variables will be available. This enables frequent monitoring of forest resources and carbon for the use of forest owners, timberland management companies and other organizations, investors as well as governmental and intergovernmental bodies.

The Forest Flux services will improve success and growth of European value adding service providers thus providing jobs and prosperity for the society. The services also help the society at large to adapt to climate change and manage forest resources in a sustainable manner.
Forest Flux concept.