Biodiversity mapping of forests from above (BioDivAbove)

In the project “Biodiversity mapping of forests from above” (BioDivAbove), we will combine remotely sensed data with high-throughput biodiversity surveys to produce wall-to-wall biodiversity maps beneficial for sustainable forest management.


During the last 100 years, the boreal forests of northern Europe have been transformed by stand-based forest management and silviculture.This has strongly affected the forest biodiversity as well as ecosystem functions. In Norway, national estimates show that 30% of the productive forest have been through selective logging only (near-natural forest), while only 1.7% is identified as old growth, that is with the main characteristics of a true natural forest. To better preserve forest biodiversity, detailed information about the spatial distribution of the biodiversity is needed.

Photo: Pixelcount Shutterstock

About the project

The main goal of BioDivAbove is to develop a method for predicting biodiversity in boreal forests. The purpose is to give the forest management good management tools and reduce species loss. This will be achieved by connecting remotely sensed data and biodiversity surveys based on DNA analyses. More specifically, the aim is to:

  • Establish a link between variables obtained from remote sensing and variables measured on the ground that are known to drive forest biodiversity.
  • Produce a wall-to-wall map of biodiversity within the demonstration area and validate the map against available biodiversity measures.
  • Develop an alternative forest management plan for the demonstration area, to illustrate how such a biodiversity model can be implemented in practical forest management.
  • To validate and scale up the biodiversity model to 24 other forests in south-east Norway where data on biodiversity is available.

BioDivAbove is a four-year collaboration in the period 2023–2027 between researchers in ecology and forestry from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and University of Oslo (UiO), Mathiesen Eidsvold Værk and Norskog from the forest industry, and non-governmental organisations such as Sabima and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).