Mapping natural forest by means of remote sensing

Project title:
Mapping natural forest by means of remote sensing

Evaluating possibilities of applying recent development in remote sensing for characterizing forest structure and naturalness is of great interest from a forest monitoring perspective. Thus, the main objective of the research was to develop methods to identify natural forests, with emphasis on old natural forest.

Funded by:
Norwegian Environmental Agency




«Precision forestry for improved resource utilization and reduced wood decay in Norwegian forests (PRECISION)»

PRECISION is an integrated project that addresses root and butt rot (RBR), the largest source of biomaterial and value loss in the primary production of the Norwegian forest sector. Even a small improvement in the information of the geographical location of RBR can lead to a very large financial gain for the forest sector.

PRECISION consists of a multidisciplinary research consortium spanning the fields of robotics and forest technology, remote sensing, pathology, silviculture, forest management planning, and economics. The consortium includes researchers from Norwegian research institutes and universities in partnership with leading international scientists. The industrial partners are an integral part of the project – the PRECISION industrial partners are responsible for more than 80% of the annual harvest in Norway’s forests.

PRECISION aims at improving the carbon footprint and hence the overall sustainability of the Norwegian forest sector. RBR has a negative impact on the carbon footprint of the forestry sector as it reduces tree growth, increases tree mortality, and reduces the yield of saw timber that can substitute building materials with long lifetimes.

Project pages at NIBIO are under construction.

Time period:


“Mobilizing and Monitoring Climate Positive Efforts in Forests and Forestry”

Lomnessjøen and Storsjøen, Hedmark county, Norway. Photo: Ole Martin Bollandsås

Forest potential in the climate policy framework remains underutilized and significantly under-mobilized. Questions about the relative uncertainty surrounding the assessment of carbon content in soils and trees have been one problem. The introduction of strategies for encouraging climate friendly efforts on the part of landowners and other users of wood-based products represents another side of the problem. And finally, how forest carbon is accounted, and thus incentivised or not, in national, regional and international frameworks, represents a third problem. We address each of these at depth. We analyze national level strategies emerging in the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement and how these incentivise the role of forests and forest-based resources in the climate policy framework. Further, we analyze national level incentive systems for encouraging carbon friendly actions on the part of forest owners and consumers of harvested wood products. With this knowledge in hand, we consider new technologies and methods for the more accurate estimation of soil and tree carbon, from the national all the way down to the landowner level. Likewise, we investigate potential mitigation scenarios at the national and local level in three case studies (Netherlands, Romania and Sweden), analyzing response curves to economic and policy incentives. Finally, we analyze how international and regional climate change mitigation strategies can be better linked to subnational incentive systems. The goal is to promote methodologies that will provide a more accurate accounting of forest carbon, and permit the greater mobilization of forests and forest-based resources in national, regional and international climate policy frameworks.


See project pages for more information:


“Changing Forest Area and Forest Productivity – Climatic and Human Causes, Effects, Monitoring Options, and Climate Mitigation Potential”

Forest at high altitude in Hedmark County, Norway

Photo: Ole Martin Bollandsås

A changing climate affects both the growth and the potential extent of our forests. Quantification of the effects is, however, not a trivial task. Climate change involves both changes in temperature and precipitation and studies have predicted that the magnitude of these changes will vary across latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. The competitive relationships between different vegetation species are also likely to change with changes in climate. In the boreal-alpine and boreal-tundra tree line ecotones, the changes are expected to be most rapid, both because trees here to a large degree grow on their tolerance limit in terms of climatic conditions, but also because the number of grazing domestic animals have declined in the last decades. A potential increased forest area because of upwards- and northwards shifts in the tree line will have an effect on carbon sequestration, but also the albedo effect and biodiversity in the tree line ecotone. Even for the forests well below the tree line, the growth conditions will change with changes in climate. Increased productivity will have impact both on the climate mitigation potential of the forest sector as well as the sector’s economic potential.

By means of time series data of the growth of trees, both on the productive forest land and in the tree line ecotone, coupled with time series data of climate, herbivory, airborne laser scanning, imagery, and multi-spectral information, the project ForestPotential aims at answering the several important research questions. What are the relative importance of grazing and climate on recruitment and growth in the tree line ecotone, and how accurately can changes be monitored using remotely sensed data? Can bi-temporal airborne laser scanner data be used to accurately estimate forest productivity? With input from the analyses of these research questions, we will also carry out long-term, large-scale forecasts of the Norwegian forest sector, also accounting for the albedo effect and the dynamics of the forest soil carbon stocks.


2018.03.23: Successfull startup meeting.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Prof. Erik Næsset
Email: erik.naesset[at]

Dr. Ole Martin Bollandsås, Prof. Terje Gobakken, Prof. Hans Fredrik Hoen, Prof. Kari Klanderud

Project partners
Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO)
Hans Asbjørn Aaheim

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Prof. Gunnar Austrheim

Scientific collaborators
University of British Columbia, Canada (UBC)
Prof. Nicholas C Coops

University of Idaho, USA (UoI)
Dr. Jan Eitel

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland (FMI)
Prof. Jari Liski

Private sector collaborators
Viken Skog SA
Head of Dept. Svein Dypsund

Mjøsen Skog SA
Head of Dept. Geir Korsvold

Time period
2018 – 2021

Norwegian Research Council (NFR)
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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HyperBio – using new technology to reduce costs and improve the accuracy of forest
inventory mapping”

Terratec AS will conduct an exciting research project with funding from the Research Council of Norway in 2015 – 2018. Partners in the project are NMBU-MINA and Norwegian Computing Center. In addition, an Italian research institute with – Fondazione Edmund Mach in Trento. The aim of the project is to develop a forest mapping method that provides more accurate and efficient forest information based on airborne laser scanning (lidar) combined with hyperspectral imaging.

See Terratec’s web pages for more information:

Developing methods for biomass and carbon assessment for miombo woodlands, pine plantations and agroforestry fields in Malawi

The project is a part of the Capacity Building for Managing Climate Change “CABMACC-LUANAR” project in Malawi. The project is led by Associate Professor Weston Mwanse and Dr. Steve Makungwa of Forestry Department at LUANAR. The work at NMBU is led by Prof. Tron Eid. Continue reading