My Sustainable Forest workshop: remote sensing for forestry in France

The two-day stakeholder workshop in Bordeaux provided a forum for discussion between the members of My Sustainable Forest project and French forestry bodies specialising in remote sensing and geo-information services.

The My Sustainable Forest consortium visiting the Domaine des Agreaux, a reference area for the development of the platform's products. Photo: EFIMED

First results of My Sustainable Forest project were presented to French stakeholders in Bordeaux during a workshop revealing the first products of the commercial platform due to be released in 2020. The event brought French participants closer to the potential and advantages of the services developed under the project, based on LIDAR and satellite technology, for silviculture in France.

The event took place on 20th and 21st November and was hosted by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s regional office of the Centre National de la Propriété Forestière (CNPF), who participates in the project, and included the participation of the other consortium members as GMV (coordinator), Föra Forest Technologies, Madera Plus, European Forest Institute, Foresna, RAIZ, Croatian Forest Research Institute, Forest Owners Association of Lithuania and the Mendel University in Brno. The session was an opportunity for project partners to show the progress of the future commercial platform and receive feedback from attendees to refine some technical aspects of it.

This platform is addressed to forest owners and forest managers and provides them with the necessary tools to obtain information from their forests (status and condition of properties, wood characteristics, tree volume and biomass, CO² stock, forest health and damages, forest fire risks, etc.) through the data collected by Copernicus programme satellites and remote sensing technologies.

In addition to the project partners in charge of presenting My Sustainable Forest services’ portfolio (GMV, Föra, Madera Plus and EFI), other entities took part as speakers in the session to offer a broader perspective of the forestry context in France, the potential of remote sensing and the current opportunities and challenges.

Iñigo Lizarralde (Föra Forest Technologies) presenting the LIDAR-based products of the My Sustainable Forest platform. Photo: EFIMED

To open the guest speaker session, the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN) gave a talk on its work developing new reference databases, products and geoservices, to meet France’s changing needs for map data and forest geographic information. During the session, the technical solutions implemented by the institution were highlighted, taking advantage of information from the National Forest Inventory (IFN) and the databases it produces.

Following the first presentation, CNPF showed the web portal “la Fôret Bouge“, a digital platform aimed at private forest owners where they can register their plots in a private account, obtain more information about their forests and know in detail all the regulations on it. The platform also serves as support to advise on forest management, sell their plots or determine the price of their own wood.

With a greater emphasis on the regional forests of Nouvelle Aquitaine, the South West Foresters Union in France (SYSSO) presented the Quaspare study on the spatial qualification of the resources in maritime pine (Pinus Pinaster) in the area of Les Landes de Gascogne. The study quantifies the supply of mobilisable wood, municipality by municipality, in the immediate future but also in five, ten or twenty years. Quaspare and its maps were made available to have a clear vision of the volumes available on maritime pine and the investments to be considered by the forest sector for the future.

To conclude the workshop in France, the members of the project had the opportunity to visit the area of interest of Domaine des Agreaux that serves as a reference for the development of My Sustainable Forest products linked to riverine forests, young and mature tree stands and clear-cuts. During the visit, the forest technician Amélie Castro from CNPF introduced the group with the forest particularities of the region, which shows the lowest tree species richness in France and a growing threat of nematode pests affecting maritime pine forests due to climate change.

Amélie Castro (CNPF) showing during the technical visit a map with the existing high fragmentation of private forests in the area of Les Landes de Gascogne. Photo: EFIMED

‘My Sustainable Forest’ project aims at developing a pre-commercial service platform for forest stakeholders to integrate Earth Observation data into daily forest stakeholders’ decision making processes and operations. My Sustainable Forest is funded by the EU Commission H2020 framework programme for the period November 2017 to October 2020 under grant agreement No 776045.

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MySustainableForest is a project composed of 11 European partners, including EFI, that provides Earth Observation (EO) geo-information products across the wood sector. MySustainableForest translates and synthesises satellite, Lidar, meteorological and in-situ data, together with customised forestry models, to create site-specific products that support forest users’ decision-making.