Technical Report 13

Compilation of a Calibrated European Forest Map Derived from NOAA-AVHRR Data

Andreas Schuck, Jo Van Brusselen, Risto Päivinen, Tuomas Häme, Pamela Kennedy and Sten Folving
Internal Report 13
European Forest Institute, Joensuu, Finland, 2002
44 p. + Annexes

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This Internal Report results from a number of activities. A project carried out for the European Commission, Joint Research Centre in 1999/2000 (Combining Geographically Referenced Earth Observation Data and Forest Statistics for Deriving a Forest Map for Europe; Contract no. 15237-1999-08 F1EDISPFI) studied the options of combining information from both remote sensing and forest inventory statistics. The developed calibration method was tested for the European Union countries and the methodology and the results were published in the European Forest Institute Research Report Series (No. 14). This Internal Report will therefore not describe the methodology again but refer to EFI Research Report 14. It will concentrate on the use of new data for the updated version of the forest map and the comparison of the inventory statistics with the AVHRR classified data and validation of the results.

Following these efforts a second phase, also carried out for the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (Contract No. 17223-2000-12 F1SC ISP FI), was initiated in order to produce a European forest map covering forests from Portugal to the Ural Mountains. The efforts included the integration of a timberline mask (arctic and elevation timberline) in order to minimise the misplacement of forest.

Due to the encouraging output of this exercise the European Forest Institute continued to improve the map both in terms of collecting more detailed forest statistical data and improving the timberline mask. Further a questionnaire was prepared to ask inventory experts on where they see room for improvement of the map and give input to potential applications.

After a short article had been published in the EFI News (No. 1, Vol 19, 2002) the authors received much feedback and questions on availability of the forest map and requests for concrete application within ongoing research activities. This encouraged the authors to produce this Internal Report on the making of the pan-European forest map.

This document complements forest map websites at the Joint Research Centre and the European Forest Institute. The websites also contain the possibility for users to download both forest map images and the actual forest map database.

The authors would therefore like to thank the following people for their help in preparing the map and this Internal Report: Mikko Lehikoinen, Kaj Andersson, Seppo Väätäinen, Laura Sirro, Minna Korhonen, Saku Ruusila from PihkaPojat and Prof. V. Strakhov for assisting in compiling the data for the Russian Federation. The authors would also like to express their thanks to the inventory and remote sensing experts: Jan Ilavský, Klaus Roemisch, Urs-Beat Braendli, Hubert Sterba, Gintautas Mozgeris (for Edmundas Petrauskas), Ivo Kupka, Konstantin von Teuffel, Jacques Rondeux, Harald Bugmann, Marco Marchetti (both via personal communication and replies to a questionnaire) for their valuable comments and suggestions as well as the various interested researchers and organisations for their interest in the output of the project activities.

Joensuu, Espoo and Ispra
October 2002
The Authors