European Forest Information Network - EFINET

Forests in Europe provide a range of ecosystem services, playing a vital role in fighting climate change. However, the lack of consistent and comprehensive pan-European forest information products and a coordinated monitoring system currently hampers the effective use of all available forest information. While National Forest Inventories are the main source of data, they have several limitations: disparate methodologies, high data collection costs, and difficulties to access data. Moreover, many remote sensing resources that have only recently become available are not optimally integrated into Europe-wide forest information products. The vision of the  European Forest Information Network - EFINET is to fill these gaps by establishing a network that can facilitate an increase in the openness of available forest information in Europe and enable the coordination and assimilation of all available resources into pan-European forest information products.

Objectives

EFINET aims to develop a conceptual framework and a needed institutional network to derive pan-European forest information products and close-to-real-time monitoring of forest changes, forest structural variables, forest biodiversity and forest health at European level. Specific sub-objectives are:

i) to provide a comparative review of existing forest information systems and their shortcomings, as well as to critically assess the available data sources and stakeholder requirements in order to identify information gaps on forests at European level;

ii) to propose a conceptual framework for a pan-European forest monitoring system, supported by demonstrations carried out in at least three test areas in different biogeographic regions of Europe:

iii) to lay the basis for next steps needed for the implementation of such a system.

 

 

Main outputs

Requirements and solutions for a forest information system

EFINET will provide a detailed synthesis of indicators required in order to underpin policymaking at EU and national level. It will provide a systematic review of suitable data sources relevant to the calculation of these indicators. This review will cover ground-based, remote sensing and economic data sources. It will identify complementarity between data sources, as well as challenges to unify them with each other. Substantial focus will be given to any potential technical or legal impediments to data use, including consideration of potential solutions.

Prototyping the European Forest monitoring system

The workflow of the activities to be carried out in test areas. As the first tentative test of implementation of the approach, the implementation of a European forest monitoring system, including the spatial estimation of forest variables in the EFINET test areas is proposed.

Recommended concept for the implementation of the European forest monitoring system

This concept report will be grounded in a review of existing and potential information systems/concepts and draw on core output and data source information. The concept will include a workplan to achieve this information system, with a timespan covering initial tests within this project, through to full implementation. Within this workplan, outputs will be prioritised, with a focus on those considered most urgent based on the stakeholder consultations. Similarly, integration of data sources will be prioritised to focus first on those which stand to provide high quality information for the priority outputs within a relatively short timeframe. We will recommend within the concept: Hosting infrastructure for data and data processing and possible future funding avenues.

Consortium

EFINET is intended as a collaborative work of a group of expert scientists focused to carry out a networking effort, make a demonstration in selected study case areas, and focusing the outreach toward key stakeholders. We have designed different types of partnership for the EFINET network. The project is led and implemented by a group of core partners who will recruit two staff positions devoted to the project deliverables.

The members of the core team are:

  • University of Florence, Italy (UNIFI), Gherardo Chirici (coordinator)
  • Bangor University, United Kingdom (BANGOR), Rubén Valbuena (deputy coordinator)
  • Wageningen Research, The Netherlands (WR), Gert-Jan Nabuurs and Mart-Jan Schelhaas
  • Technical University of Munich, Germany (TUM), Cornelius Senf and Rupert Seidl
  • Lund University, Sweden (LUND), Tom Pugh.
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway (NMBU), Erik Næsset and Terje Gobakken

Core partners will be complemented by a first ring of scientists who will collaborate both in the first part of the project for preparing the review of existing experiences, in defining the details of the tests that will be carried out in study areas, and finally to discuss the results and defining the characteristics of the future European Forest Monitoring System. A second ring of scientists will be created during the implementation of the project setting up a Scientific Panel who will help in revising the documentation produced during the project. Finally, a group of stakeholders will be included in the networking in order to help in guiding the activity of the project in directions shared with existing actors in the field of forest monitoring in Europe.

 

Contact

For more information on the EFINET project and to participate to the process, please email the coordinator Gherardo Chirici, firstname.lastname@unifi.it

News about EFINET

Consortium announced for forest monitoring call, EFI website, 24.6.2021