FOREST MANAGEMENT TOOLS

AUTOMATION OF FOREST MAPPING PROCESSES


Project developed within the framework of the Civil UAVs Initiative. Civil UAVs Initiative is a strategic initiative of the Xunta de Galicia, aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness in a wide range of services and activities carried out by the Galician public sector, through the use of remotely piloted aircraft and vehicles.


Through Civil UAVs Initiative, Xunta de Galicia has launched an Innovative Public Procurement Process to address a series of technological challenges for monitoring land-use dynamics and assisting land-use planning. One of these technological challenges is the design, development and implementation of a solution for forest management and control based on data captured by airborne sensors on UAVs, satellites and other aerial and ground vehicles..


For the implementation of the project, known as TERRA 4, a consortium has been set up which brings together technology centres and companies from the forestry sector which, together, can respond to each and every one of the needs set out by the Directorate General for Forestry Management and Production.


The consortium in charge of the project, led by 3edata, has extensive experience in forest modelling, inventory design, remote sensing and LiDAR data management, geographic information systems, unmanned aerial vehicle operation, 3D reconstruction techniques, object-oriented image analysis and new information and communication technologies for large data sets, as well as practical experience in the calculation of distances in fire defence infrastructure, diagnosis, forest pest damage assessment and phytosanitary treatments with RPAS. The following are participating as partners:


1. 3edata ingeniería ambiental (3EDATA)
2. University of Santiago de Compostela (USC)
3. Centro Tecnológico Forestal y de la Madera (CETEMAS)
4. Centro de Observación y Teledetección Espacial (COTESA)

This initiative generates a Forest Geographic Information System (SIGF), completely based on its own developments and free software, which covers the needs defined by the Galician administration in relation to the Inventory of woodlands, the monitoring of biomass management strips and the assessment of damage caused by forest pests..


Through the system integrated in the TERRA 4 project, an user will be able to access a repository of multispectral images captured with satellite (WorldVieW, Sentinel) or RPAS, as well as LiDAR data captured with airborne sensors.


The access to the data repository enables the user to execute some of the three modules integrated in the tool:


Module 1.- inventory of woodland. From these user-selected data the system will automatically generate forest cover maps. The forest map defines areas on which to apply models developed specifically for each class and consequently estimate volumes, biomass, basal area and densities.


Module 2.- forest fire prevention. This module integrates the tools necessary for the assessment of Biomass Management Strips. For a given territory, the TERRA 4 tool automatically generates a land cover map and for each cadastral parcel estimates of Canopy cover, vegetation height and total stocking rate.


Module 3.- Forest Pests. Module aimed at detecting trees symptomatic of a forest disease or pest. Based on the analysis of very high resolution multispectral images, the TERRA 4 tool detects trees with a decline in photosynthetic activity within the forest stand, facilitating damage assessment and treatment planning.