The long-awaited Forest Carbon Monitoring User Workshop was finally held in sunny Espoo, Finland, on the 1-2 March 2023. After numerous teleconferences held over the duration of the project, the entire consortium and all the user partners finally had the opportunity to gather in person in one place to discuss the findings and outlook of the project. The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Discuss on the evolution of policy and standards framework and user needs for forest carbon monitoring
- Share key findings of the Forest Carbon Monitoring project with the users
- Acquire user feedback on the usability of the output products, and on areas of improvement
- Discuss the status and required further development/actions
The meeting was the culmination point of the cooperation with our user partners, who have been supporting the project from the very beginning. At the early stages of the project, we had discussions of the user requirements and available reference datasets. These discussions allowed us to define the best options for data and method combinations for all demonstrations. Delivery meetings were held in December 2022 to deliver the output products with accompanying descriptions and analysis to the user partners. Since then, the user partners have evaluated the products in their own systems. Feedback from the evaluation was provided through a user survey submitted before the workshop.
Altogether 33 people joined the event, including 14 persons from user partners. The consortium, user partners, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) were represented. In addition to the opening session, the workshop included four sessions:
(Note that you can download the presentations through the links in the agenda.)
14:00 Opening session (30 min)
- Welcome and project overview, Frank Martin Seifert (ESA) & Jukka Miettinen (VTT)
14:30 Policy, markets, and certification (90 min)
- Latest evolution in policy settings, user needs and requirements towards Forest Carbon Monitoring; Yasmin Maximo (EFI)
- Carbon markets and possible developments, Antti Luoma (AFRY)
- Motor Verde initiative, an example of a carbon market, Antonio Perez Lepe (Repsol Foundation)
– 16:00 Coffee break (30 min) –
16:30 Scientific findings and technical developments (90 min)
- Algorithm evaluation and comparison, Oleg Antropov (VTT)
- European wide biomass estimation, Maurizio Santoro (Gamma Remote Sensing)
- Key technical development, Jukka Miettinen (VTT)
– 18:45 Social Dinner –
8:30 Forest Carbon Monitoring results validation and utility assessment (120 min)
- Demonstration products, Jukka Miettinen (VTT)
- Validation and user survey, Natalia Malaga (WUR/GFZ)
- User panel discussion, starting with 3-5 min user partner self-presentations, followed by guided panel discussion, representatives from all user partners
– 10:30 Coffee break 30 min –
11:00 Conclusions and way forward (60 min)
- Lessons learnt from the project, all participants:
- Providing operational services to users: Are we there yet?
- What improvements are needed?
- Concluding words, Frank Martin Seifert (ESA) & Jukka Miettinen (VTT)
- Lessons learnt from the project, all participants:
– 12:00 Workshop ends –
The lively discussions during the sessions and coffee breaks, as well as on the social dinner, provided valuable insights on the development of carbon policy and market scene, as well as on the usability of the FCM demonstration products. The comments touched upon broad concepts of carbon monitoring in general, as well as small but interesting details on the peculiarities of the output products. Particularly the user panel session allowed fruitful conversation between the user partners and the consortium. Overall, the feedback and views received from the user partners will form an important part of the future Roadmap to be defined over the remaining months of the project.
Figure 1: Examples from the User Survey results. See full results in the slides of the Validation and User Survey presentations.
Early impressions from the workshop can be summarized as:
- The exact requirements for carbon monitoring are still unclear and developing. This emphasizes the need for flexibility and adaptability of the approaches that are developed for the users.
- Although the users were satisfied with the demonstrations conducted in the project, in most cases the achieved accuracy was not considered sufficient to support forest management decisions on forest stand level (Figure 1). The data and methods used in the demonstrations set limitations for applicability in various ecosystems/conditions, particularly in very young or high-volume forests. This indicates that (1) it is important to define and communicate the limitations and recommended areas of use of the methods provided and (2) the development of methods in the problem areas must continue.
- It is crucial to provide accuracy assessment with confidence intervals for the output products. Accuracy should be reported at the level of the regional units in which the user works (pixel, department, municipality, province, national…).
- It is still partly undefined how the Forest Carbon Platform should look like. The user partners indicated interest both towards a highly automated simple “self-service” tools, but also in more tailored services with the ability for monitoring and analysis of the outputs.
It was highlighted in the concluding discussion that a dialogue between the service providers and users is essential for a successful outcome. Through continued dialogue we can learn the best approaches, while working together on the constantly developing forest carbon monitoring scene and the Forest Carbon Platform. In this context the workshop had a pivotal role in the project, enabling exchange of information between the project consortium and the user partners in an open and constructive atmosphere.
On behalf of the organizers, we would like to thank all the user partners for your active participation in the workshop. Your input has crucial importance for the project.