WP3 – Improving data collection and analyses for multipurpose inventory of forest resources

Objectives

WP3 main aim is to provide a holistic analysis of the NFIs as multipurpose data sources and to improve the forest information, as well as to explore the combined used of NFI and Earth observation data to improve current methods and input information for delivering indicators and their changes.

Description of work

This WP will provide practical tools for enhancing the role of NFIs as multisource information providers. It will consider variables related with the production of non-wood products (NWFP), forest biodiversity, spatial patterns, social indicators and protective functions. Due to the necessity to analyze a large diversity of variables, lack of systematically collected data of some of them, and traditional NFI stock methodologies, it is necessary to develop and screen all the survey methods, variables and indicators as well as to establish “good practices” guidelines in their use, harmonization, and combination with other data sources.

WP3 requires co-ordination of partners, activities and data flows. INIA-CIFOR will supervise the development of the work reports and case studies as well as to disseminate the results and analysis within the WP participants.

TASK 3. 1. Biodiversity and conservation assessment (starts at month 1 and end at month 46). This task will undertake innovative research by (1) harmonizing forest biodiversity indicators derived from NFIs, (2) improving the detail and accuracy of forest spatial pattern information by integrating data from national forest inventories and spatially continuous datasets derived from Earth observation. This research will develop novel methods and deliver enriched indicators in Europe that are more accurate, ecologically- functional, and management-relevant, building from methods being currently used for European-wide reporting.

Using the new proposed indicators, a methodology to assess forest ecosystems biodiversity and conservation status within Natura 2000 sites will be developed to create a tool for decision support and forest management planning. First, forest biodiversity variables commonly assessed by NFI, such as stand structure (including dead wood and age as an indicator of old-growth forests) and species composition, will be harmonized at the European level. This harmonization will follow the work done by COST E-43 as well as the commonly available ancillary information (such as threatened species). Second, research will focus on the development improved ways for assessing and monitoring the spatial patterns, ecological connectivity and scales of spatial diversity of European forest ecosystems, which are key factors for their long-term resilience and adaptive capacity. Finally, a selection of harmonized and integrated indicators will be identified to assess forest biodiversity, their trends and to provide large-scale management guidelines. The research will be performed in pilot study areas in different countries in the task, in which the main trees species will be considered. These results will provide demonstrative case studies on the potential of the improved and consolidated methodologies for European-level assessments and change monitoring in the future.

This task will be developed in close coordination with WP2 (harmonizing growing stock, biomass and carbon estimation and forest state monitoring) and WP1 (end-user requirements).

Task leader: INIA/UPM Other participatin g partners: UCPH-IGN, CRA- MPF, SFI, CEABN/ISA, FR

TASK 3. 2. Estimation of non woods and services (starts at month 1 and end at month 36)

Task 3.2.1. Estimation of production of non-wood forest products. Existing models of non-wood forest products will be analyzed in order to be adapted to NFIs data collection possibilities and to be able to estimate productive functions of forests. There are few models for NWFP in Europe that are being identified by StarTree project, to estimate NFWP production based on stand variables, which can be adapted to NFIs data collection and therefore to make national estimations. This work will be therefore concentrated only in the NFWP for which there are pre-existing models that could be adapted to NFIs (as cork, kernel or resin taping). This study will be developed through in-depth case studies which will be conducted only in selected countries where these NFWP are relevant.

This subtask will be developed in close coordination with WP1 (end-user requirements).

Task leader: INIA Other participating partners: USC, UPM, Metla, CEABN-ISA

Task 3.2.2. Development and harmonization of social indicators. The main objective of this subtask will be to evaluate available information/indicators already recorded within the different national NFI’s in relation to estimate the social functions of forest – and to improve the existing indicators. In addition, the possible development of new significant indicators for common reporting related to the social functions within the NFI’s will be investigated.

The work on social indicators will be concentrated on forest-based outdoor recreation, and the work will be conducted in close relation to the pan-European criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in the FOREST EUROPE/MCPFE context. The FOREST EUROPE indicators 3.4 “Services” (Marketed social (recreational) services) and especially 6.10 “Accessibility for recreation” will be in focus for further improvement in this subtask. The need of improvement of these indicators is highlighted in the report “Implementing Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Europe” (2013). It is expected that the development of significant, standardized and harmonized indicators for the social (recreational) function need to go beyond the possibilities that the traditional NFI’s provides today. The development of data collections based on e.g. surveys (questionnaires) and automatic counting of visitors need to be considered as the focus is on humans’ need and behavior. The work will benefit from previous European network related to social forest indicators (e.g. in COST (E33) and EFI context).

This subtask will be developed in close coordination with WP1.

Task leader: UCPH-IGN Other participating partners: CRA-MPF, FR, Metla
TASK 3.3 Indicators for forest risk assessments (starts at month 1 and end at month 42)

Task 3.2.1 New indicators relevant for the protective function of forests against wind storms. The main aim is to develop indicators for common reporting within NFI related with the protective functions in forest management against wind storms. There are NFI recorded data collected after hurricanes (as cyclone Klaus
2009) or strong wind storms heavily affecting forest. Stand structure indicators as density or slenderness quotient will be analyzed to developing algorithms related with the protective function against wind storms. This task will be developed in close coordination with task 3.1. of this WP. Task leader: UPM Other participating partners: INIA, UCPH-IGN, NFC

TASK 3.3.2 Crown fire hazard assessment. Main objective of this task is to improve the characterization of canopy fuel loads in space to cover the needs of empirical fire behaviour models used for making decision in forest fire prevention. This information is necessary in fire behaviour simulators used for decision support about the implementation of fuel management programs aimed at mitigating the occurrence of high-intensity fires. Evaluation of crown fire initiation and spread require the description of two canopy fuel complex characteristics: canopy base height (CBH) and canopy bulk density (CBD). Direct measurement of these canopy fuel characteristics is impractical, and therefore indirect estimation methods are required. The use of the NFI databases is essential to estimate these canopy variables because represent the most complete spatial distribution of many stand and tree variables. Fire risk maps will be compared if possible with disturbances map (WP4).

The results of task 2 in WP2 and task 1 in this WP should be essential to develop this objective. Task leader: USC Other participating partners: UoPa, CEABN/ISA