The development of our PathFinder project is marked by six major milestones that when reached, highlight important steps of the project, and we are happy to announce that we have completed our first milestone “Advanced Field Measurements”.
Within the project, our first milestone falls under the task of developing new approaches for improved and transparent field data recording. The goal is to provide guidelines, measurement protocols and software tools to support the implementation of the EU consistent field survey, as well as providing suitable data for independent validation of remote sensing maps, developed further on in the project.
A key novelty highlighted in the development of the milestone is the use of mobile laser scanning (MLS) data for capturing individual trees and their properties such as species and height, which further on can be used to characterize the associated above ground biomass, as well as the species composition found in the forest ecosystem in question. Doing so, the project aims to measure larger areas that traditionally done so in field plots to provide more suitable in-situ data for earth observation calibration/validation activities.
By leveraging the efficiency in the collection of MLS data, Pathfinder aims at developing efficient and thus scalable protocols for measuring large forest plots.
Fig.3. Left side: MLS measurement in the superplot close to Gottingen with collegues from University of Gottingen and from NIBIO, right side: bioacoustics device in one of the superplots in Norway
Looking more closely at biodiversity components, grand new measurement tools have been applied to quantify mammal species richness using camera traps and bird species richness using bioacoustics devices. Further, wall-to-wall deadwood maps were recorded to assess the quantity and types of present deadwood.
All in all, PathFinder’s first milestone presents the filed protocol for the superplots of the project found in Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Spain, which combined, cover 13 of the 14 EU European forest categories.
The protocol showcases the site selections, plot and superplot designs, data collection guidelines such as quadrant selection and measurements requirements (traditional measurements, mobile laser scanning, and additional biodiversity measurements).
After the field work is completed, the data retrieved will be used in developing the remote sensing-based forest attribute maps of the project.