Project Structure

The DIABOLO project consists of 33 partners from 26 European countries and the project is divided into seven Workpackages.  Due to the complexity of the project and the wide scope of the partners including both R&D performers, efficient, professional coordination and a clear management structure with well-defined responsibilities is a key prerequisite for successful implementation. Work Package 7 (WP7), led by the DIABOLO Coordinator, Luke, is devoted to project management, administration and quality assurance. The DIABOLO project is designed to be implemented in stages that are synchronized to provide essential linkages between the WPs, see Figure below:

WP explained - Click to enlarge

WP explained – Click to enlarge

Conceptual mapping of forest information demand, supply and flow (WP1), will support WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6; estimation and analysis techniques for extracting spatio-temporal information on forest parameters and condition based on time series of high-resolution remote sensing data (WP2) will be supported by EC space-based applications (WP4). In WP5 the pre-existing national estimates, model coefficients, and expertise is used; however, statistical sampling, generic estimation and modelling techniques to compute wood (WP2) and non-wood (WP3) forest parameters based on NFI field measurements can be utilised to meet the minimum input data requirement in countries where there is a lack of pre-existing knowledge, especially on the concept of integrating EO and field data for monitoring and supporting sustainable forest management. New methodologies (WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5) will support the development of strategy for the improvement of knowledge communication and information exchange (WP6).

What is the DIABOLO Project?

The DIABOLO project is about improving the quality of and access to forest data. Data that describes forests in Europe. The reason why we require improved forest data is because as the bioeconomy in Europe grows, the demands for biomass and other forest ecosystem goods and services often calls for changes in forest-related policies at different levels and across different sectors. The Forest Strategy states the need for harmonised information for mapping and assessing the dynamic state of forest ecosystems and their services.

A lot of work has already been done in this area and the DIABOLO project builds upon scientific advances from the following Cost Actions:

  • E4 – Forest reserves research network (FR-NET),
  • E39 – Forests, Trees and Human Health and Wellbeing,
  • E43- Harmonisation of National Inventories in Europe : Techniques for Common Reporting,
  • FP1001 “USEWOOD” – Improving Data and Information on the Potential Supply of Wood Resources. A European Approach from Multisource National Forest Inventories,
  • FP0804 “FORSYS” Forest Management Decision Support Systems
  • FP1207 “ORCHESTRA”, Orchestrating forest-related policy analysis in Europe

different European networks

  • ENFIN,

the FP7 research and development projects

  • S2BIOM,

With this background, the DIABOLO project aims to:

  1. strengthen the methods for more accurate, harmonised and timely forest information, e.g. on growing stock and stock changes, biomass, carbon, NWFP; enable the analysis of sustainable biomass supply derived from multipurpose and multisource national forest inventories; and facilitate near real-time forest disturbance monitoring, e.g. on forest fires, storm, drought, insect outbreaks;
  2. support EU policy processes, international reporting obligations, forest administration and forest planning entities with new methodologies and EU-wide consistent forest information;
  • make innovative use of existing field-collected data and EC space-based applications of EO and satellite positioning systems with reference to INSPIRE and GEOSS, and global monitoring systems such as REDD+, FLEGT and UNFF.

DIABOLO involves experts in quantitative modelling, policy science and National Forest Inventories, from 25 European countries, committed to provide new methodologies and information for various end-uses, including EFDAC (FISE) at JRC, GLOBIOM at IIASA and work at FAO/UNECE.

The specific objectives of DIABOLO are:

  1. To identify the demands for and gaps in the provision of forest data and information for different political levels to improve knowledge communication and information exchange between political decision makers, forest managers and forest data providers (WP 1).
  2. To develop new methods and models to produce European wide harmonised data and information on growing stock, biomass and carbon, based on NFI field data and high-resolution remote sensing data and to produce a multisource system for providing up-to-date estimates on the state and changes in European forest ecosystems (WP 2).
  • To analyse the National Forest Inventories (NFIs) as multipurpose data sources and to improve the forest information availability and quality, as well as to explore the combined use of NFI and Earth observation data to improve current methods and input information for delivering indicators on forest spatial patterns and their changes (WP3).
  1. To improve forest disturbance monitoring systems (e.g. on forest fires, storm, drought, insect outbreaks) at regional, national and European scale by using new European satellite data (e.g. Sentinel 1 and 2), thus providing near real time information on forest disturbance and its impact on biomass and tree species distribution (WP4).
  2. To understand the long-term sustainability of biomass supply and trade-offs between biomass supply and other ecosystem products and services by using European Forestry Dynamics Model (EFDM) in different European countries with a linkage to a global market equilibrium model (GLOBIOM) (WP 5).

To achieve these specific objectives the project comprises five major area of research called workpackages, WP:

Each of the Workpackages has its own objectives, which guide the work for the life of the project.

WP1 – Policy analysis of demands for and provision of forest data

The leader of WP1 is ALU-FR, Germany.

WP1 establishes our general understanding of which policies use forest data and where we have gaps in the data. It also looks at the provision of forest data, who uses it and what for. This WP has the following four objectives:

  1. Mapping the demands for forest data of political decision makers and key forest managers concerned with forest related policies at different political levels
  2. Mapping the provision of policy-relevant forest data by information suppliers
  3. Identifying and bridging gaps between policy demands and supply of policy relevant information and key parameters of forest data relevant for different policies and policy-relevant reporting requirements
  4. Improving knowledge communication and information exchange between political decision makers, key forest managers and data providers of the forest sector

To reach these objectives the following nine tasks are planned:

    1. Identify policies with relevance for sustainable multi-purpose forestry at EU level by reviewing literature and conducting expert interviews
    2. Analyse the demands for forest data as described in documents of relevant policies at EU level. This will be a literature review.
    3. Survey the demands for forest data as perceived by political decision makers and key forest managers concerned with forest relevant policies at different political levels.
    4. Compare the demands of forest data across scale and across policies developing a list of parameters
    5. Survey the provision of forest data at the national and EU-policy level
    6. Find gaps between policy demands and supply of policy relevant information and prioritise key parameters through focus groups with political decision makers, key forest managers and monitoring experts from different sectors.
    7. Map how data flows between data provider and political decision makers/forest managers by expert interviews
    8. Identify barriers to the flow of those data by interviewing data providers and political decision makers/ key forest managers


  1. Develop strategies for improving data flow in dialogue groups comprising data providers and political decision makers/key forest managers

WP2 – Harmonizing growing stock, biomass and carbon estimation and forest state monitoring based on field and high-resolution remote sensing data

The lead organisation of this work is INRA; France, with IGN, France.

WP2 focuses on the harmonisation of forest data, in particular the forest data derived from National Forest Inventories, NFIs. Data harmonisation is the process of bringing together data of different formats, naming conventions and methods of collection and transforming it into one cohesive set of data. An alternative way to reach the same goal would be to standardise data collection. This is discussed here on this website. This WP work builds on the great achievements already reached in collaborative projects and COST Actions prior to DIABOLO.

Harmonised estimates of wood volume, biomass and carbon stocks of forests at the European scale is still a challenging but, potentially ground-breaking endeavour. European countries periodically conduct their own NFI and apply their own, country-specific, volume and biomass models, as well as their own up-scaling methods to produce statistics at the national scale from sample trees and plot level data. We do not know if these models are compatible across member states of the EU. There is neither a harmonised European system of equations and expansion factors for volume and biomass estimation nor a common guidance to apply these models to NFI data. The DIABOLO consortium offers an opportunity to:

  • develop biomass equations from NFI data and related research institute data,
  • use new technologies such as terrestrial laser scanning to develop non-destructive assessment methods for application at the plot level,
  • develop general and flexible estimation procedures using NFI field data and auxiliary information from various sources for updated forest statistics at the European, national and local levels.

The objectives of WP 2 are:

1 & 2. To develop new methods and models to produce 1. harmonised data and 2. information on wood resources at the individual tree and sample plot levels. Tasks 1 & 2 are devoted to the provisioning services of forests: volume, biomass, carbon stocks and changes.

    1. To elaborate estimation procedures that combine NFI field data and auxiliary information from remote sensing and maps. These procedures shall integrate into an innovative system for providing up-to-date estimates of state and changes in forest ecosystems on a variety of scales and at the European level. This task focuses on ecosystem services not covered by task 1 & 2, including regulating, cultural and supporting services, in line with WP3 and WP5.
    2. Harmonisation of stem volume estimates in Europe
    3. Compatible set of biomass and total aboveground volume equations for the main tree species in Europe
    4. Development of continental models of total aboveground volume and biomass
    5. Development of algorithms for 3-D tree reconstruction and volume measurements from terrestrial laser scanning
    6. Improvement of forest resources monitoring through
    7. Common data analysis and output delivery system based on the statistical methodology of the ENFIN’s EFDAC E-Forest estimate.
    8. Development of plot data extraction technology from VHR remote sensing sources and provision of auxiliary data.


  1. Integrating forest management inventory (FMIs) and NFIs. Often local information is needed for sustainable use of forest resources based on NFI field and auxiliary data. Methods and good practices for integrating FMIs and NFIs are of considerable interest in many countries and providing harmonised methods would be of high value.

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

The lead organisation of this work is INIA, Spain.

WP3 aims to 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.

The tasks are:

3.1. To improve biodiversity and conservation assessment based on NFI data. This task will harmonise forest biodiversity indicators derived from NFIs; improve the detail of forest spatial pattern information by integrating NFI data with spatial data derived from Earth observation. Natura 2000 sites will be used.

3.2. Estimation of non-wood forest products and services:

  • Using country focused case-studies, this sub task develops the estimation of non-wood forest products, building on existing models of NWFPs for cork, kernel and resin, identified by the FP7 StarTree project.
  • Development and harmonisation of social indicators. To evaluate and improve indicators already used in NFIs to estimate the social functions of forests. Here, social indicators concentrate on forest-based outdoor recreation, following the pan-European criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in the FOREST EUROPE/MCPFE context.

3.3. Indicators for forest risk assessments.

    • Explore new indicators including stem density and slenderness quotient, for the protective function of forests against wind storms.


  • Crown fire hazard assessment. 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.

WP4 – Monitoring disturbances in European forests based on space data

The lead organisation of this work is ALU-FR, Germany

WP4 is designing & developing a methodology and a demonstrator of a European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System (EFDMS) based on Sentinel 2 data that addresses two information needs: A -European scale harmonised data on forest disturbances, with user focus on national and EU level policy stakeholders, satisfying also regional users. The types of disturbances include: fire, storm, drought, biotic damages, significant harvesting operations. Updated annually. Information provided includes satellite remote sensing-based mapping of major disturbance types and their recovery.  B -Near real time, with a 24h cycle, forest disturbance monitoring service, with a user focus on local and regional users that need information on disturbance management as fast as possible. Information provided includes satellite remote sensing based preliminary mapping of major disturbance types and their recovery. Users of the data can integrate results with their internal thematic spatial data on forests to facilitate a fast management reaction

WP4 is building a European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System and it contains the following features:

  • a Sentinel 2 based near real time forest disturbance indication mapping component that provides for each new data acquisition a damage indication
  • the methodology for Pan European monitoring of forest disturbances to provide annual harmonised information on disturbance types and impacts
  • a reference data and validation system that uses both ENFIN sample plot data originating from NFIs participating in this task and 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)
  • coordination of this reference data system with the Copernicus in-situ data network
  • a user interface for both service elements “Near real time forest disturbance monitoring service” & “European scale harmonised data on forest disturbances” working towards a links with 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 limited

The tasks

4.1: Analyse current EO based contributions to European wide forest monitoring with special focus on disturbances systems

Analyse State of the art for EO based forest monitoring with special focus on disturbances, building on EUFODOS and experience from participation in operational forest monitoring

4.2: Linkage and coordination with other forest sector EO projects and 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]
  • 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

Analysing user requirements, from WP 1 and technical requirements from the “Common data analysis and output delivery system (AOS)”, from WP2 and development of a product and service specification resulting in the design for the European Forest Disturbance Monitoring System

Develop methods to assess forest disturbances using Sentinel 2 time series approach, includes time series data preparation, see A.

Develop methods for microwave remote sensing using SAR (Sentinel 1, TerraSAR or equivalent) based rapid response to heavy disturbances.

Develop methods for near real time disturbance classification based on Sentinel 2 time series. This produces forest areas showing significant deviation in spectral/ backscattering characteristics.

Implementation of a web-based near real time disturbance monitoring system including workflow integration.

Reference data, validation system and user interface. The collection of specific reference data in WP4 will be coordinated with the EEA GISC project

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. Test regions are foreseen in Norway, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece, Germany

WP5 – Model-based biomass supply analysis for bioeconomy

The lead organisation of this work is Luke, Finland

This WP aims to improve policy and decision support related to bioeconomy and has the following objectives:

  • to improve the coherence of policy support for energy, industrial, environmental and other forest- related policies at EU and national level as well as 2) decision support for bioeconomy industry at regional and local level by harmonizing the definition of sustainable biomass supply across European countries, across sectors, along value-chains and over time
  • to deepen insight of long-term sustainability of biomass supply by developing harmonized methodology for model-based biomass supply analyses, considering dynamics of forests and variation of forest-based value-chains across Europe
  • to increase the understanding of trade-offs between biomass supply and other ecosystem products and services by developing harmonized methodology to incorporate land-use constraints into model-based biomass supply analyses
  • to support forest-related policy processes and decisions related to bioeconomy industry in practice by productizing value-added information services based on the model-based biomass supply analyses.

The tasks

5.1 Harmonization of definitions for sustainable biomass supply in terms of sustainability constraints in relation to experiences and guidelines from international processes and projects e.g. Forest Europe, UNECE SFM, EU projects BEE and S2BIOM, as well as form the European Bioeconomy Observatory (BISO).

5.2 Provide scenarios on future land-use pressure and shifts for countries under different sustainability constraints using a global land use and market equilibriums model (GLOBIOM).

5.3 Development of harmonized methodology for modelling biomass supply dynamics over time and across countries with varying forest-based value chains and land-use constraints

5.4 Adopting the harmonized definition for sustainable biomass supply, results on future land-use pressure and methodology for supply analysis carried out by countries to derive added-value results to be disseminated through a SEIS compliant web-service pilot.