Resource Data

New methods produce forest resource data even at the precision of individual trees

The forestry database already contains data on more than 100 million trees in Finnish forests. Interpretation of individual trees provides more accurate data on forest resources than conventional methods based on grids and models. When trees are known in more detail, the most vital trees with the greatest carbon sequestration capacity can be left standing in forests, and solutions that better support biodiversity can be found.

The UNITE Competence Center has developed methods to produce data at the level of individual trees. The forest database map view allows users to view all individual trees sorted by length and tree species. The data is calculated based on laser scan data from the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS). The map clearly visualizes the regional distribution of trees and also offers data on felling potential.

Left: View of the map in the forest database. Different tree species highlighted in different colors. The longer a tree is, the darker it is and the larger the single-colored circle. Middle and right: Statistical data retrieved for the area selected by the user, sorted by tree species.

Interpretation of individual trees allows for more accurate data on forest resources

“The forest database was developed to facilitate the visualization of forests and the display of statistical data. Its comprehensive map view and statistical data helps identify the financial value of forests and the need for forest management. The forestry database calculates statistical data on an area of ​​up to thousands of hectares in just a few seconds,” explains Matti Hyyppäassistant researcher at the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the NLS, which is in charge of the IT implementation.

Interpretation of individual trees also allows for better felling plans. As a result, trees that need to be removed can be felled and more vital trees can be left standing.

“When trees are known in more detail, the most vital trees with the greatest carbon sequestration capacity can be left standing in forests, and solutions that better support biodiversity can be found. In this way, the carbon sink capacity of forests can be increased by up to ten percent,” says Juha Hyyppäprofessor at the FGI.

“The current national laser scan dataset may not yet be large enough for this optimization, but more laser scan data is being produced, providing more and more quality data,” says Hyyppä.

Aim for high data usability

To derive practical benefits from research data, the tools developed must be integrated with existing systems. Data provided by systems must be in a format that different users can use to make decisions.

“A forest management planner may have more time and willpower to define what is included in the calculations, while forest machine operators need data in as clear and simple a format as possible,” says Heli Honkanensenior specialist at the IGF.

Achieving the different objectives of forest management also presents a challenge for systems, and when preparing plans, systems must be able to produce data simultaneously for various decision-making processes that meet different objectives – it is impossible to optimize the euros first and then the carbon footprint .

The forest database system has been developed for a trial period, and its purpose is to demonstrate the interpretability of individual trees. The long-term goal is to integrate currently developed methods of interpreting individual trees into forest data systems to serve data production processes. Quality data is added continuously. To interpret the individual trees, reference data on each tree is needed. We are continuously developing automated reference measurement systems that produce very detailed quality tree data. In its simplest format, grade data provides information about tree species and stem curves, while in its most complicated format it provides additional information about tree density, nodes, and vitality. trees.

“An option to produce an automated virtual forest will also be added to the forest database system. It can be used to visualize forest management measures, for example. Our goal is to make the virtual forest so good that it can identify real counterparts in real forests,” says Juho-Pekka Virtanenproject researcher at FGI and product owner at Forum Virium.

Source: Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI)