FELIS, University of Freiburg, Germany

Description of Research Activities in Thuringia, Germany

Felis will focus on the development of methods using new optical and SAR sensors for the envisaged downstream products and applications.The availability of new sensor data and next generation satellites will provide additional input earth observation data sources for the improved efficiency of production of both the Core and EUFODOS. Felis  will focus on the assessment of the utility of new optical and SAR sensor data such as RapidEye (lunched 2008), TerraSAR-X (lunched 2007), TanDEM-X (lunched 2010) and Sentinel-2 (lunch planned for 2013) considering both single sensor utilisations and multiple sensors utilisations (e.g. combined utilisation of optical and SAR data) for the proposed downstream products and applications.

Expected Development Objectives

Both the assessment and the empirical work will focus on two opportunities arising out of the new sensor data:

  • Improvement of all EUFODOS products & services (e.g. improving discrimination of tree species and stand types for the mapping of stand types at risk, improving the classification accuracy of the storm damage maps and of the forests infected with biotic damages, improving the estimation of the amount of wood [stand volume] and improving information delivery time after occurrence of storm and biotic damages)
  • Development of new generation products that have not been feasible with previous satellite generations (e.g. assessment of early infection stages of bark beetle infected forests, new generation stand height and stand volume data [considerably higher accuracy compared to previously possible large scale EO based mapping])

Envisaged Research Coverage Area

If applicable, describe the area covered by the study and/or add an overview map.

EUFODOS Uni Freiburg

Pic. 1 Digital elevation model of Thuringia with the areas covered by each satellite

The area investigated with RapidEYE covers about 50% of Thuringia, for a smaller part in the south archive data of 2009 in also available (Pic. 1). The research with RapidEYE will focus on detection of forests infected by bark beetle (Pic. 2).

EUFODOS Uni Freiburg

Pic. 2 Bark Beetle grubs

The SAR test side is situated in southern Thuringia. The main test side is about 5km * 10km, but also the area surrounding it will be studied. The main test side is mostly covered with forest, the main tree species is Norway spruce (Picea abies), up to 50% steep, but also with flat areas owned by the country of Thuringia. The research with SAR data will focus on storm and snow damages within the forest (Pic. 3).

EUFODOS Uni Freiburg

Pic. 3 Trees broken because of snow

Expected benefits for Forest Downstream Service Developments

Based on the assessment, the development of new methods and the adaptation of existing methods the new sensor data can then be incorporated in the processing chains for the various services; and new methods and algorithms can be integrated in the operational tool boxes.

Additionally there will be a review and assessment of the potential utility of already planned next generation satellites for the further development and effective production for Forest DS.

Research Institution

Felis focuses on the research of application of remote sensing and information systems, including basic research necessary for this. The focus is the development and investigation of methods for the qualitative and quantitative condition assessment, monitoring, visualization and analysis of woods, forests and landscapes.The implementation and use of these methods to develop new applications in the practice or to explore new scientific questions will be given great importance. Other priorities are to check the effect of new technologies in planning and developing new technological offerings for forestry applications.

Service Partners