Forests are the lungs of Earth; however, their key environmental role is not their only boon — their economic and social knock-on effects are coming into their own, as well.
Direct and indirect benefits are, in fact, equally important. Conserving forests and, above all, ensuring a sustainable use of them is therefore a pressing need at worldwide level. Europe is about 40 percent woodland. For two decades now, initiatives, agreements and policies have been underway to ensure a balanced development of these crucial woodland ecosystems.
A political framework is essential but even more important is bringing initiatives to fulfillment. November 21. 2017. will go down as a watershed date in this endeavor. That day saw the official launch of one of Europe’s most ambitious sustainable- and efficient-forestry initiatives: MySustainableForest. This is an innovation initiative that aims at phasing increased use of Earth Observation(EO) into the forestry sector to ensure a more sustainable use of our woodland.
One of the focal points of this plan is the Copernicus EO and monitoring program. The first Sentinel satellites of the constellation making up this program have been up and running since 2014, safeguarding ecosystems and public security, anticipating any natural disasters or human-caused catastrophes. Copernicus, led by the European Commission in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is expected to become fully operative by 2020.
Evaluating biomass, mapping timber quality, developing a climate-change strategy and pinpointing vulnerabilities are, among others, the applications to be developed during the course of this long-term, 36-month research project.
This 11-member consortium is being led by the technology multinational GMV. Over the three years of the project GMV, together with his British subsidiary, will be collaborating, with the Portuguese Navigator Company (Instituto de Investigaçao da Floresta e Papel: RAIZ), the Hrvatski Sumarski Institut (Croatian Forest Research Institute: CFRI), the University Forest Enterprise (UFE) of the University of Mendel of the Czech Republic (Mendelova Univerzita V Brne), the Forestry Association of Navarre (Asociación forestal de Navarra: FORESNA), the Lietuvos Misko Savininku Asociacija (Forest Owners’ Association of Lithuania: FOAL), the French National Forestry Ownership Center (Centre National de la Propriete Forestiere: CNPF), the Spanish companies Madera Plus Calidad Forestal SL (MADERA+) and Föra plus the European Forest Institute.
This initiative comes under the umbrella Horizon 2020 program, the European Union’s framework research- and innovation-funding program.