Multi-sensor Monitoring and Assessment of Forest Resources: Supporting a Forest Observation System for Siberia
Hüttich, Christian1; Eberle, Jonas1; Schmullius, Christiane1; Bartalev, Sergey2; Emelyanov, Kirill3; Korets, Mikhail4; Shvidenko, Anatoly5; Schepaschenko, Dmitry5
1Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, GERMANY; 2Space Research Institute Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION; 3Joint Stock Company Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION; 4Sukachev Institute of Forest Krasnoyarsk, RUSSIAN FEDERATION; 5IIASA Laxenburg, AUSTRIA

Above ground biomass - one of the considered Essential Biodiversity and Climate Variables (ECV, EBV, Perreira et al. 2013) - is an important structural parameter describing the state and dynamics of the Boreal zone. Several research programs are developing remotely sensed biomass maps and change indicators from local to global scales. In fact, the monitoring and assessment of the remote Russian forest resources of Siberia is challenging and can only be done by integrating remote sensing techniques. More than 25 % of the Russian forest inventory has been updated more than 25 years ago. The consequence is that most of the existing forest inventory is obsolete. Moreover, human and environmental forest disturbances continuously affect changing forest cover and biomass levels. The magnitude and extent of ongoing environmental pressures (e.g. forest fragmentation and the impact of global climate change) and the loss rates of particular habitat types is not known so far. The ZAPÁS project (Figure 1) and the Siberian Earth System Science Cluster (SIB-ESS-C) are aiming to provide standardized and validated forest resource geo-information products (Hüttich et al. 2012). In-situ and multi-agency satellite data are analyzed in the framework of the EU-Russia Space Dialogue. At local scales biomass and forest cover change maps are generated and validated with up-to-date forest inventory data. At regional scales a synergy map of land cover and biomass information is developed to be used to improve a full terrestrial carbon accounting for Central Siberia. The SIB-ESS-C project aims at the provision of a web-based infrastructure and comprehensive information products derived from Earth Observation that support environmental and earth system research in Siberia. Timely processing of satellite time series and the implementation of web-based analyses tools generate the important link to the user community, e.g. to detect phenological anomalies and disturbance hotspots on habitat and ecosystem level. Four years of biomass monitoring (2007 - 2010) derived from 25 m ALOS PALSAR data show increasing fragmentation rates of the natural Taiga forest. On the other side forest regrowth was detected on former agricultural lands. Analyses of more than ten years of MODIS time series helped to detect recent phenological anomalies and forest cover change patterns. Cross-comparisons of biomass maps and species composition and forest age maps improved the knowledge on species/age and biomass relationships. Bottom up validation analyses of biomass maps derived from forest inventory, ALOS PALSAR and ENVISAT ASAR could quantify the capabilities and limitations of regional to pan-arctic biomass maps.
Figure 1: The ZAPÁS web map portal showing EO data of local to continental scale biomass and forest fragmentation patterns.


Hüttich, C., Schmullius, C.C., Thiel, C.J., Pathe, C., Bartalev, S., Emelyanov, K., Korets, M.,Shvidenko, A., & Schepaschenko, D. (2012): ZAPÁS. Assessment and Monitoring of Russian Forest Resources in the Framework of the EU - Russia Space Dialogue. In: European Commission (2012): Let's Embrace Space. Space research achievements under the 7th Framework Programme.

Pereira, H. M., Ferrier, S., Walters, M., Geller, G. N., Jongman, R. H. G., Scholes, R. J., Bruford, M. W., et al. (2013). Essential Biodiversity Variables. Science, 339(1), 277-278.