Skip to content
Sunset over forest

Photo by D Taylor (public domain)

Forest Carbon Monitoring project ending… Or is it?

As unbelievable as it sounds,  two years have passed since the Forest Carbon Monitoring started. This means that we are reaching the end of the current project. The project set out to implement a prototype of an operational remote sensing-based monitoring platform offering  a cloud processing system for forest biomass and carbon monitoring. The platform aims to offer a selection of monitoring methods that are applicable for carbon accounting for small and large areas, addressing the growing needs for comprehensive and accurate information on forest biomass and carbon.

An immense amount of work has been done during the past two years by all the ten consortium members and eight user partners. The work started with gathering of information on user requirements, policy environment and the status of EO based forest biomass and carbon monitoring approaches. This was followed by an extensive dataset and methods comparison and evaluation exercise in seven testing sites across Europe. Simultaneously, implementation of the methods into the Forest TEP platform was conducted. The system development phase enabled selection of optimal methods and datasets to be used in the nine demonstrations that were conducted during the second year of the project. The uncertainty and usability of the prototype products were evaluated in cooperation with the user partners of the project. A User Workhop was organized to discuss the main findings of the project with the users. The workshop presentations can be downloaded through the blog post.

The progress of the project has been recorded frequently in a series of blog posts through the past two years, with altogether nearly 30 blog posts published. This series of writings gives a good overview of the achievements of the project. In addition to the numerous workshops and conferences where the project has been presented, journal papers from the Peru demonstration, initial investigation of Unet deep learning models, and on VHR sampling aided forest variable estimation have already been published in peer reviewed journals. Four more manuscripts are in review or under preparation. We will continue to keep this blog alive by highlighting the publication of these articles in the blog in due time. And as mentioned before, you can view and access demonstration output products at the prototype product portal.

Key findings of the project can be summarized as:

  • The policy and regulatory setting scene is developing fast. The exact requirements for carbon monitoring are still unclear and developing. This means that flexibility and adaptability in the data and method selection needs to be retained to ensure the pertinence of the platform for carbon monitoring in the future.
  • The data and methods used in the project were considered applicable for large area monitoring, producing estimates with small biases. However, most users did not consider the pixel level accuracies sufficient to support forest management decision making on forest stand level. Development of the data and method combinations must continue to improve small area accuracy. Furthermore, accuracy assessment procedures that include confidence intervals must be designed for standardized uncertainty reporting.
  • The demonstrations proved the feasibility of the chosen technological approaches, but also highlighted areas which need further improvement. Additionally, it would be important to widen the selection of available tools (e.g. with AI based approaches). Regarding the service provision concept, the users indicated interest both towards highly automated simple “self-service” tools, as well as more tailored monitoring and analysis services.

Overall, the project achieved its major goals and provided a good foundation of further development of the prototype platform. Several development ideas were conceived during the project. Development on the scientific and technical aspects as well as the platform concept will hopefully continue so that the platform can serve the users better. Funding for future work has not been confirmed yet, but any potential continuation of the Forest Carbon Project will be announced on this blog in due time.

For now, we want to thank all the followers for your continued interest in the project and wish you a very nice holiday season! Hopefully we will meet again on these pages later this year.