WP4 – Monitoring disturbances in European forests based on space data

Objectives:
Design, develop a methodology and demonstrate a European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System (EFDMS) based essentially on Sentinel 2 (supplementary Landsat 8, other optical & SAR) data that addresses two information needs:
A -European scale harmonised data on forest disturbances
User focus: national and EU level policy stakeholders, satisfying also regional users
Types of disturbances: fire, storm, drought, biotic damages, significant harvesting operations
Update frequency: annually
Information:
• Satellite remote sensing based mapping of majors disturbance type
• Satellite remote sensing based recovery monitoring of disturbed areas
• Thematic information on the forests that have been damaged
B -Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service
User focus: local and regional users that need information on disturbance management as fast as possible
(near real time ~ within 24 hrs. after data acquisition)
Disturbances: as above
Information:
• Satellite remote sensing based preliminary mapping of major disturbance types
• Users of the data can integrate results with their internal thematic spatial data on forests to facilitate a fast management reaction

Within the overall objectives described in part A and B the development of WP 4 will address the following essential components of a European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System:
• to develop and demonstrate the service component using Sentinel 2 data that forms the backbone of the entire service
• to develop and implement a Sentinel 2 based near real time forest disturbance indication mapping component that provides for each new data acquisition a damage indication by automatically contrasting the actual scene vs. a time series of Sentinel 2 (in the initial stage also using Landsat 8 and Landsat 5/7 data from ESA and USGS Archives)
• to develop and test the methodology for Pan European monitoring of forest disturbances to provide annual harmonised information on disturbance types and impacts
• to design and set up a reference data and validation system that utilises both ENFIN sample plot data originating from NFIs participating in this task and a set of forest stand data from forest management inventories (voluntary user community side data provision) and data on historic events and on actual events (voluntary user community side data provision)
• to coordinate such reference data system with the Copernicus in-situ data network
• to design and set up a user interface for both service elements “Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service” & “European scale harmonised data on forest disturbances” considering close linkage to existing systems such as EFDAC
• to explore and further develop methods for SAR based monitoring relevant to assess disturbances in winter time where the risk of storms is high and the mapping capability of optical data is lim ited

Data on disturbances will be made available for WP2 for the method development for information update within the “Common data analysis and output delivery system (AOS)” (Task 2.3).

Description of work
Task 4.1: Status assessment (ALU-FR, JR, UniBG, UniPa, NFLI, UNFU) to Analyse current EO based contributions to European wide forest monitoring with special focus on disturbances systems
o Analyse State of the art for EO based forest monitoring with special focus on disturbances, building upon experiences from previous R&D projects, e.g. EUFODOS and from participation in operational forest monitoring, e.g. as contractors of EEA to provide within GiO land the forestry layers.
Task 4.2: Linkage and coordination with other forest sector EO projects and initiatives (ALU-FR, JR, IGN, UniBG, UniPa, NFLI, UNFU)
o Link with other international EO based monitoring system initiatives (Copernicus land product [EEA], Copernicus forest information [JRC], Forest Europe, UNCECE/FAO, GEOSS [Global Earth Observation System of Systems] and the related GFOI initiative [Global Forest Observing Initiative] o Link with national level EO initiatives
o Link with EFI – EUROPEAN FOREST RISK FACILITY project
o Exchange of information on concepts, technical plans and schedules, establishment of close contacts and where feasible collaboration to achieve synergies and avoid duplications.
Task 4.3: European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System Development (ALU-FR, JR, IGN, UniBG, UniPa, NFLI, UNFU)
Sub task 4.3.1 Analysing user requirements [input from WP 1] and technical requirements from the “Common data analysis and output delivery system (AOS)” [input from WP2] and development of a product and service specification resulting in the design for the European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System (ALU-FR, JR)
Sub task 4.3.2 Disturbances assessment methodology development and tests using Sentinel 2 time series approach (complemented by Landsat 8) , includes time series data preparation (ALU-FR, JR, UniBG, UniPa, UNFU) – addresses the service component A -European scale data on forest disturbances – Feedback from WP2 on the utility of the data for the information update within the “Common data analysis and output delivery system (AOS)” will be used for method improvement
Sub task 4.3.3 Methodology development and tests for a SAR (Sentinel 1, TerraSAR or equivalent) based rapid response to heavy disturbances – component (NFLI, ALU-FR) – addresses the service component B – Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service
Sub task 4.3.4 Near real time disturbance classification method development (ALU-FR, JR, UNIPa, UniBG) based on Sentinel 2 time series. Result: Forest areas showing significant deviation in spectral/ backscattering characteristics – addresses the service component B – Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service
Sub task 4.3.5 Implementation of a web-based near real time disturbance monitoring system including workflow integration based on methods developed in 4.3.4 (IGN) – utilises Sentinel 2 data and addresses the service component B – Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service
Sub task 4.3.6 Reference data & validation system & user interface (Lead by ALU-FR, support JR, UniBG, NFLI, UniPa UNFU). Result: Reference data for remote sensing based mapping & error estimation feasible for all results provided by the near real time disturbance monitoring system & the entire disturbance monitoring system during the test phase (Task 4.4) . [NB: The collection of specific reference data in WP4 will be coordinated with the EEA GISC project (http://gisc.ew.eea.europa.eu/about-gisc) that aims at an establishment of a system for the provision of in-situ data for Copernicus services.] Task 4.4 Test phase
In the last phase of the project the approach will be tested including the evaluation of the
performance of the system in terms of accuracy & timeliness the results can be provided to potential end users (ALU-FR, JR, IGN, UniBG, UniPa, NFLI, UNFU).

– Test regions are foreseen in Norway, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece, Germany & Austria in order to achieve a representative coverage of Europe