Satellite-based system quantifies forest ecosystem services

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Satellite-based system quantifies forest ecosystem services

The last few years of drought have shown that forestry in Germany is facing a dramatic change: Coniferous monocultures will not survive the forthcoming climate changes. Our forests will no longer be able to supply enough wood for domestic needs in the coming decades.

As a high-tech country, Germany is not necessarily dependent on wood from its own country. Nevertheless, it is now important to protect the remaining deciduous forests, because they are also endangered by drought and pests. The damaged forest areas must be reforested in a climate-stable manner, because the actual total forest area should at least be preserved. Life in Germany as we know it is hardly possible without the forests. Forests filter water, help cool the environment and are a treasure trove of biodiversity. If they are protected, they are an important sink of climate-damaging CO2. And they have brought relaxation, enjoyment and joy to millions of people for centuries, and are part of our culture.

We must therefore quantify, communicate and appreciate the diverse functions of the forest more strongly.

Discover all services of RSS for forest climate projects

Satellites help with environmental protection

The city of Arnsberg, Remote Sensing Solutions, the Natural Forest Academy and the Öko- Internet search engine Ecosia made the target.

Based on a 5-year time series of Sentinel-2 data with a resolution of 10x10 m, individual forest areas in the city of Arnsberg were digitally measured for changes in vitality and the balance was presented in an interactive online map provided. As a result, 37% of the conifer areas have been lost in the last 5 years, but only 1% of the deciduous forests.

The project participants are all in favor of rewarding the ecosystem services (such as biomass growth and carbon sequestration) of the forest , also financially. This should be counter-financed by ending the free issue of CO2 certificates to the largest polluters in Germany.

It will be essential not to reward mere forest ownership, but important services for the ecosystem . This principle seems self-evident in a market economy, but is disregarded by the federal government's latest payments and plans. There must be no public money for the destruction of forest ecosystems. Financial recognition only makes sense if forests are preserved, protected and regenerated as a healthy habitat.

The satellite-based system is available as a prototype and can be quickly expanded to quickly, inexpensively and independently quantify the regeneration of forest areas across Germany or Europe. It is up to the federal government to preserve our forests for future generations and at the same time to lead Germany to the top when it comes to digitizing at least the forest.