A workshop entitled “Towards harmonised forest monitoring and reporting for the EU” was organized in context of the Swedish Presidency on 1-2 February 2023 in Uppsala, Sweden. This workshop was a follow-up to the workshop held in Kutná Hora in September 2022 during the Czech EU Council Presidency, to build on the outcomes of that meeting. The nearly 100 participants of the workshop included Member States, stakeholder organisations, the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the European Environment Agency, as well as forest inventory experts.
The objective of the workshop was to contribute to an exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise, in light of the upcoming proposal on an EU legislation on forest monitoring and integrated long-term forest planning, as outlined in the EU Forest Strategy adopted in 2021. The agenda included several keynote presentations on three focus areas: (i) users, areas of uses, and ways of presenting forest information, (ii) components and governance of a forest information system for the EU, and (iii) relevant monitoring methods. The keynote presentations were followed by group work and panel discussions. The Forest Carbon Monitoring project team had the honour to be represented in one of the panels, providing expertise from the remote sensing point of view.
In addition to the seven main observations, the Presidency Summary of the workshop outlines the main discussions and points raised during the workshop. The use of remote sensing was an important part of the discussions concerning monitoring methods. It was concluded that although not for all, for many features the combination of field inventories and remotely sensed data would allow for more accurate and frequent statistical estimation and mapping. The importance of validation as part of any large scale forest mapping programme was also emphasized. Furthermore, the role of platforms for joint processing of field and remote sensing data was discussed as a potentially powerful means to make an overall forest information system more efficient. Details on how remote sensing and field data can best be integrated, and what kind of platform systems would best support the process, are subject to further research. Several large research projects funded by EU, European Space Agency (ESA) and other funding sources are currently concentrating on these issues.
The Forest Carbon Monitoring project team is very happy that it has had the opportunity to be involved in this process and would like to take this opportunity to thank the workshop organizers for excellent practical arrangements and warm hospitality which provided good setting for constructive discussions.