Led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the EU North State project has developed a new method of using satellite images to evaluate the forest carbon balance. The carbon balance indicates how much carbon is sequestered or released by forests each year. This enables the carbon balance to be displayed on digital maps, with an accuracy of up to ten metres.
The story gives a Sentinel-2 based example of F‑TEP's capabilities in rapid production of highly detailed land-cover maps, such as the highlighted one, which was produced for an area in Chiapas, Mexico.
The first iteration of the Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform (F-TEP) will be released to champion users in the coming months. F-TEP is being created to provide an online data processing and dissemination resource for the forestry community that is ready to utilize the volume shift in data in the Copernicus age.
With the very large volumes of data now being provided from the multiple Sentinel missions and other satellites, the limitations for effective science and value adding business are becoming less about lack of data, but more about using effective tools and resources to find, process and analyse such data. Such large data volumes mean that longer time to download, larger storage devices, advanced processors and high powered computing are all needed.
Researchers propose high resolution satellite constellation to provide free data for forest monitoring
The full-scale operations of Sentinel-2 had hardly begun when researchers began to strive for free satellite data with higher resolution. Michael Schmidt from CONABIO, Mexico and Matt Hansen from University of Maryland, USA announced a plan for a constellation of eight satellites in a forestry workshop in Mexico in early June 2016. The workshop ‘Regional solutions to forest type stratification and characterizing the forest state for national forest monitoring and carbon emissions reporting’ was organized by the Global Forest Observation Initiative, CONABIO, and the US aid program SilvaCarbon.
Recent developments in the Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform (F-TEP) were presented in a dedicated TEP session. An additional specific meeting for all six TEPs was also held. In the exhibition hall the participants could discuss bilaterally with the TEP representatives at the TEP booth. Interested participants could also pick up more information on F-TEP and other TEPs from new project flyers and promotion videos.