Thuringia, Germany

Downstream Service - Insect Infested Damage Assessment

GAF-AG, a remote sensing company, based in Munich, Germany together with the Department for Remote Sensing and Landscape Information System (FeLIS) of the University Freiburg in Germany, is developing satellite based Downstream Services for fast and reliable assessment of damaged forest areas caused by insects (e.g. bark beetle).

As forests play a key role for the European economy and environment these insect infested damages can cause a considerable financial problem for forest administrations as well as other forest owners. Forest administrations need near time information about the damage extent and the areas concerned to support the planning of appropriate counter measures (e.g. felling of infected trees).

The main bottlenecks today are missing Earth Observation based monitoring systems and the terrestrial systems which are very time consuming and cost intensive. These terrestrial methods can not ensure a full coverage since a complete inspection of the whole area is not feasible with existing time and personnel resources. For bark beetle and other biotic damages the challenge is to detect and map infection in a very early stage. The infection process lasts up to several weeks with the characteristic that the physiological damages and thus the detection ability increase gradually over time. In order to take adequate measures, the user requests the detection of infected trees as early as possible.

Envisaged Service Area

The service area includes the Thuringian forest areas with a special focus on forest areas dominated by spruce stands (see gray highlighted areas in the figure below).

 Spruce dominated forest stands in Thuringia

Use of GMES Core Data Sets (HR Forest Layers and Core Image Data)

The implementation of a monitoring system based on high resolution optical satellite data is foreseen. The system also includes terrestrial information (bark beetle traps) and information on weather conditions. The land monitoring CORE services of the initiative for Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES) has now entered into its Initial Operations (GIO) phase and will provide users with European wide information based on Earth Observation data on a regular manner. These datasets (e.g. European wide high resolution optical satellite images from 2006, 2009, 2011 and high resolution forest layer) as well as information derived from user forest GIS can serve as basic information to enhance the assessment of insect infested damages in forest areas.

Service Specifications

Earth Observation (EO) data Optical HR data (e.g. IRS-P6, RapidEye, SPOT)
Reference geographic data Digital Elevation Model, other EO data sets, topographic data
GIO CORE Data CORE High Resolution Forest Layer
CORE Image data
Other data, In-situ data User Forest GIS
Terrestrial information (e.g. bark beetle traps)
Weather Forecast Service
Timeliness Regular updates during bark beetle season (May to September in Thuringia, Germany)
Minimum Mapping Unit Bark beetle infected trees or a collective of trees
Thematic Accuracy > 80 %
  Bark beetle infected trees derived from aerial photograph (© by FeLIS, Universit
  Bark beetle infected trees derived from aerial photograph (© by FeLIS, University of Freiburg)


Service Partners

GAF AG                FELIS            Thüringen Forst