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The Future of Forests and Forest Management

Forests Forest Management Trees British Columbia Brazil California Prescribed Burning LIDAR Forest Mapping

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#1
caltrek

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How Technology is Transforming British Columbia’s Forest  Industry

 

https://www.timberwest.com/the-future-of-forestry-is-here/

 

Introduction:

(Timber West) For forest companies, like TimberWest, the health of the trees and associated ecosystems are paramount.  From seedling to maturity, the trees must be monitored and any problems addressed.  The way in which this monitoring happens is changing dramatically through the convergence of new sensing technologies such as LiDAR, and the ability to deploy sensing technology using drones.

 

What was once used only for air space and meteorological research, LiDAR, which stands for LIght Detection And Ranging and is commonly referred to as airborne laser scanning, is now being used for forest research to more accurately examine everything from the height and diameter of trees to ground terrain evaluation and plot-level wood volume estimates.

 

In the just-released video Forest for the Trees: How technology is transforming BC’s forest industry, University of British Columbia (UBC) forestry professor Dr. Nicholas Coops emphasizes LiDAR and drone use are just two more recent examples of the forest sectors technological revolution, and the types of technology incorporated into every-day forest management.

 

Coops explains LiDAR technology can be used with airplanes or drones and involves sending pulses of light down to the ground that bounce back and mirrors the data captured into images that allow forest planners to measure the topography, depth, height, slope and other values of the land being surveyed.

 

Domenico Iannidinardo, TimberWest’s Vice-President of Sustainability and Chief Forester says he sees great value in LiDAR technology and drones when it comes to forest management and planning. LiDAR can provide a wide range of enhanced ecological applications such as evaluating microhabitat diversity and watershed modelling. Through the use of LiDAR, forest planners can rapidly and accurately produce three-dimensional data-sets which allows them to better assess road building opportunities, stand value and wood quality, resulting in more efficient inventory management.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
caltrek

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Satellites Could Soon Map Every Tree on Earth

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02830-3

 

Introduction:

(Nature) Terrestrial ecosystems are defined in large part by their woody plants. Grasslands, shrublands, savannahs, woodlands and forests represent a series of gradations in tree and shrub density, from ecosystems with low-density, low-stature woody plants to those with taller trees and overlapping canopies. Accurate information on the woody-vegetation structure of ecosystems is, therefore, fundamental to our understanding of global-scale ecology, biogeography and the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, water and other nutrients. Writing in Nature, Brandt et al.1 report their analysis of a massive database of high-resolution satellite images covering more than 1.3 million square kilometres of the western Sahara and Sahel regions of West Africa. The authors mapped the location and size of more than 1.8 billion individual tree canopies; never before have trees been mapped at this level of detail across such a large area.

 

The spatial resolution of most satellite data is relatively coarse, with individual image pixels generally corresponding to areas on the ground that are larger than 100 square metres, and often larger than one square kilometre. This limitation has forced researchers in the field of Earth observation to focus on measuring bulk properties, such as the proportion of a landscape covered by tree canopies when viewed from above (a measurement known as canopy cover).

 

However, during the past two decades, a variety of commercial satellites have begun to collect data at a higher spatial resolution, capable of capturing ground objects measuring one square metre or less. This resolution improvement places the field of terrestrial remote sensing on the threshold of a fundamental leap forward: from focusing on aggregate landscape-scale measurements to having the potential to map the location and canopy size of every tree over large regional or global scales. This revolution in observational capabilities will undoubtedly drive fundamental changes in how we think about, monitor, model and manage global terrestrial ecosystems.

 

Brandt et al. provide a striking demonstration of this transformation in terrestrial remote sensing. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#3
funkervogt

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Satellites Could Soon Map Every Tree on Earth

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02830-3

 

Introduction:

(Nature) Terrestrial ecosystems are defined in large part by their woody plants. Grasslands, shrublands, savannahs, woodlands and forests represent a series of gradations in tree and shrub density, from ecosystems with low-density, low-stature woody plants to those with taller trees and overlapping canopies. Accurate information on the woody-vegetation structure of ecosystems is, therefore, fundamental to our understanding of global-scale ecology, biogeography and the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, water and other nutrients. Writing in Nature, Brandt et al.1 report their analysis of a massive database of high-resolution satellite images covering more than 1.3 million square kilometres of the western Sahara and Sahel regions of West Africa. The authors mapped the location and size of more than 1.8 billion individual tree canopies; never before have trees been mapped at this level of detail across such a large area.

 

The spatial resolution of most satellite data is relatively coarse, with individual image pixels generally corresponding to areas on the ground that are larger than 100 square metres, and often larger than one square kilometre. This limitation has forced researchers in the field of Earth observation to focus on measuring bulk properties, such as the proportion of a landscape covered by tree canopies when viewed from above (a measurement known as canopy cover).

 

However, during the past two decades, a variety of commercial satellites have begun to collect data at a higher spatial resolution, capable of capturing ground objects measuring one square metre or less. This resolution improvement places the field of terrestrial remote sensing on the threshold of a fundamental leap forward: from focusing on aggregate landscape-scale measurements to having the potential to map the location and canopy size of every tree over large regional or global scales. This revolution in observational capabilities will undoubtedly drive fundamental changes in how we think about, monitor, model and manage global terrestrial ecosystems.

 

Brandt et al. provide a striking demonstration of this transformation in terrestrial remote sensing. 

 

Why not use automated, flying drones to map the forests? If they only flew as high as regular airplanes, they wouldn't need high-tech cameras to image individual trees. 



#4
caltrek

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Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate to Promote Prescribed Fires to Reduce Fire 

 

https://wildfiretoda...duce-fire-risk/

 

Introduction:

(Wildfire Today) A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would make large sums of money available to increase the number of acres treated with prescribed fire (also known as controlled burns).

 

It has been fashionable during the last two years to blame “forest management” for the large, devastating wildfires that have burned thousands of homes in California. According to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service the federal government manages 46 percent of the land in California. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection manages or has fire protection responsibility for about 30 percent.

 

Research conducted in 2019 to identify barriers to conducting prescribed fires found that in the 11 western states the primary reasons cited were lack of adequate capacity and funding, along with a need for greater leadership direction and incentives. Barriers related to policy requirements tended to be significant only in specific locations or situations, such as smoke regulations in the Pacific Northwest or protecting specific threatened and endangered species.

 

The National Prescribed Fire Act of 2020, Senate Bill 4625, which was introduced last week by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and two cosponsors, would help address the capacity issue by appropriating $300 million for both the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to plan, prepare, and conduct controlled burns on federal, state, and private lands. It would also provide $10 million for controlled burns on county, state and private land that are at high risk of burning in a wildfire. Additionally, the bill establishes an incentive program that would provide $100,000 to a State, county, and Federal agency for any controlled burns larger than 50,000 acres. (Summary and text of the bill)

AmElkRxFire_10-20-2010.jpg

A firefighter ignites the American Elk prescribed fire in Wind Cave National Park, October 20, 2010.

Photo by Bill Gabbert.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
caltrek

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Why not use automated, flying drones to map the forests? If they only flew as high as regular airplanes, they wouldn't need high-tech cameras to image individual trees. 

 

The article cited in the opening post indicates that drones are in fact used for the purpose you describe.  I imagine a satellite could take in a much larger area.  Marry that to AI, and you can obtain a very efficient system for mapping and counting of trees.  Blending both approaches together might also be advantageous. Satellites for a first order of approximation, drones for more detailed work that might be needed for exact species identification, monitoring of the early stages of disease spread, etc. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
caltrek

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Oh...and because I listed Brazil as a tag:

 

The Amazon is Burning in 2020 Again

 

https://theprint.in/...ndemics/516446/

 

Introduction:

(The Print) The fires in the Amazon region in 2019 were unprecedented in their destruction. Thousands of fires had burned more than 7,600 square kilometres by October that year. In 2020, things are no better and, in all likelihood, may be worse.

 

According to the Global Fire Emissions Database project run by NASA, fires in the Amazon in 2020 surpassed those of 2019. In fact, 2020’s fires have been the worst since at least 2012, when the satellite was first operated. The number of fires burning the Brazilian Amazon increased 28 per cent in July 2020 over the previous year, and the fires in the first week of September are double those in 2019, according to INPE, Brazil’s national research space agency.

 

Despite the surge in fires, international attention has waned in 2020, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the degradation of the Amazon rainforest has profound consequences from climate change to global health.

 

Global climate implications

 

The Amazon rainforest covers approximately eight million square kilometres — an area larger than Australia — and is home to an astounding amount of biodiversity.

It helps balance the global carbon budget by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and plays a key role in the global water cycle, stabilizing global climate and rainfall. A nine nation network of Indigenous territories and natural areas have protected a massive amount of biodiversity and primary forest.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Forests, Forest Management, Trees, British Columbia, Brazil, California, Prescribed Burning, LIDAR, Forest Mapping

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