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The platform

High level framework

The Forest Carbon Platform aims to integrate remotely sensed datasets, field measurements and online processing power to maximize their synergy to best meet the needs of different types of users. The foreseen users of the platform range from governmental entities and international organizations to the private sector, which are considered central actors in fighting climate warming.

The forest biomass and carbon estimates will be computed by predicting forest structural variables (such as height, diameter, volume) in high 10-100 m spatial resolution using optical and radar satellite data with ground reference data. The structural forest variable values are transformed to biomass and equivalent CO2 values using process based ecosystem models

Processing pipelines and algorithms

The Forest Carbon Platform demonstration is conducted on Forestry TEP, benefiting from the powerful servers directly connected to the CREODIAS data repositories. Processing chains within the Forestry TEP platform are implemented to meet the needs of different user requests.

During the development of the platform, a wide range of algorithms for forest structural variable estimation were evaluated (see blog post for more details). The selection of approaches to be used in the Forest Carbon Monitoring demonstrations include:


Forest structural variables predicted by Probability or k-NN are fed as input to PREBAS, a process based ecosystem model for modelling of biomass and primary production variables. The integration of the process based model into the system allow further expansion of functionalities, including primary production variables (e.g. gross and net primary production) and future forecasting. The Autochange change detection method is used to detect annual changes in the demonstration areas.

Training and demonstration areas

During the first year of the project, algorithms and data combinations were tested in seven sites, six of which were situated in Europe, and one in Peru. During the second year, full-scale demonstrations will take place.

Three different types of demonstrations will be implemented:

  • Local level demonstrations designed to meet private company requirements, and other stakeholders focusing their activities on small areas.
  • Provincial to national level demonstrations aimed primarily at administrative agencies helping to meet their monitoring and reporting requirements, often utilizing National Forest Inventory field sample plots as an integral part of the methodology.
  • Continental level demonstration in Europe, aiming to meet the needs of international organizations and other communities requiring continental level information.

All of the demonstrations use ESA’s Sentinel-1 C-band radar and Sentinel-2 optical satellite data, supported by auxiliary datasets (e.g. digital elevation models, weather data etc.). In addition, JAXA PALSAR-2 L-band radar yearly mosaics are used in the European wide demonstration as well as in Peru.


Testing and demo site map

Prototype demonstration products

The Forest Carbon Monitoring platform prototype demonstrations will produce three different types of products to support users in their forest biomass and carbon monitoring: Forest structure variable products, Biomass and growth products and Change products.


Examples of the prototype products to be produced in the demonstrations are provided below. These image samples are from a testing site in Finland. The size of the samples is around 2.5 x 2.5 km. Subsets illustrate (a) Sentinel-2 real colour image, (b) Sentinel-1 (VH, VV, VH-VV), (c) Diameter, (d) Basal area, (e) Height, (f) Growing stock volume, (g) Above ground biomass, (h) Below ground biomass and (i) Stem volume increment. More prototype product examples can be found on a blog post.