The forestry applications of LiDAR data have taken off in Sweden! Blom delivers forestry mapping to several organizations including Bergvik Skog, a prominent user of modern remote sensing services. Besides producing maps from existing LiDAR data and aerial imagery Blom also performs data collection, such as the NNH project.
“We are at the beginning of a huge technical step in forestry where we already see that better geographical information leads to major benefits in both production and environmental context,” says Martin Sjödin working with forestry GIS at Blom Sweden.
Bergvik Skog was founded in 2004 when the company acquired the forest holdings owned by Stora Enso and Korsnäs in Sweden. The existing mapping of the forest land had varying quality, originating from several different organizational structures. Bergvik thus saw an urgent need to update and improve the quality of their forestry mapping.
“The overall idea is that a high quality forest inventory leads to better decisions, and that holds a great value for the business. One of the initial applications is to identify the forest where thinning cuttings are needed,” says Ingemar Gillgren at Bergvik Skog.
Several options for this survey, including traditional aerial photo interpretation, field inventory and satellite image interpretation were taken into account before the choice fell on a LiDAR based method. It was after a number of pilot projects in early 2010 that Bergvik Skog decided that all their holdings of about 2 million hectares will be mapped by using LiDAR data. The survey included updating the stand delineation and estimates of forest characteristics for different species in terms of height, basal area, volume, diameter and number of stems.
Also the site index was updated and together with the height and basal area it can show how important it is to perform thinning cuttings according to templates from the Forest Agency. Since all calculations, except those at the stand level, are also presented in a more detailed grid it is now possible to show how the degree of thinning cutting varies within each stand.
Additional mapping layers delivered by Blom are: conservation areas left after regeneration felling, updating of land use classes, height and density maps for young stands, digital terrain models with slope classes and altitude contours.
Learn more of forest calculations
LiDAR data from the NNH project can be used together with high accuracy positioned sample plots to calculate regular forest data like basal area, volume, diameter and height. This method is often significantly more cost efficient and more accurate than standard field measurements.
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