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Demonstrating Remote Sensing integration in sustainable forest management (FRESh LIFE)
Start date: Sep 7, 2015, End date: Sep 6, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The compiling of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) indicators is usually accomplished by ground surveys. This approach, based on forest inventory techniques, ensures accurate statistical assessments of forest attributes and how they change over time. However, surveying is generally expensive and time-consuming for medium to large forest management units. In addition, forest data are usually not updated within short time intervals. In order to develop more cost-effective data collection methods for large forest areas, the use of forest ecosystem inventory and mapping data obtained from remote sensors (i.e. drones) is highly recommended. Objectives The FRESh LIFE project aims to: Demonstrate that the use of remote sensing (i.e. drones fitted with multispectral sensors) for forest mapping has the potential to make the compiling of indicators less expensive and time consuming than current data collection systems based on forest inventories; Demonstrate that the information generated through these new techniques will help improve forest management decisions; Demonstrate that the information obtained from these new techniques is extremely useful to help achieve sustainable forest management targets and forest certifications; and Demonstrate the applicability of the methodologies at a wider scale at the European Forest Data Centre (EFDAC) and, subsequently, in the European Commission's Forest Information System for Europe (FISE). Expected results: An evaluation of the technical and economic feasibility of integrating into forest management remotely sensed information collected by drones; A mapping of indicators related to the maintenance of forest resources and their contribution to carbon sequestration, forest health and biodiversity; A ranking of medium to large-scale forest management units according to the European Environment Agency's classification of European Forest Types (EFTs), in order to optimise the spatial estimation of SFM indicators; and Development of a Forest Information System that aggregates multiple indicator maps in order to support forest managers. This will address the increasing cross-sectoral complexity of the challenges identified by the new EU Forest Strategy (COM (2013) 659) and EU Biodiversity Strategy (COM (2011) 244).
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