The capacity for change in planted forests is significant, particularly in their younger years, and then once harvesting commences. Often within an organisation, several processes that record change may exist and include GPS traces, satellite imagery, UAV's and field sketch maps. Compiling such information and sharing updated maps can be time-consuming.
Development of mapping platforms such as online dashboards removes some of these constraints. The solution is particularly compelling when linked to satellite-based monitoring processes which flag changes as they occur.
Using the following example, we demonstrate how analysis of satellite imagery can be used to generate layers at the estate-level; to track changes to the stocked area, harvest extent and canopy condition. The dashboard layers are created by our internal routines that analyse satellite images as they are collected.
The example displays several panels; the most prominent being an area breakdown by canopy condition index class, with index proportions recalculated as stands are selected. The purpose of the canopy index is to identify unexpected or unrecorded changes across the estate quickly.
A list of 'Alerts' is created based on the analysis of the Canopy Index and is supported by temporal analysis of multiple satellite observations. The output of this analysis is represented as a 'disturbance score' which tracks the change in canopy condition between two points in time. Harvesting activities are detected using a harvest tracking algorithm, and as changes occur, these are synchronised to the dashboard. As required, commercial imagery (Planet and Maxar) is used to confirm the validity of an 'Alert'. One such example covers Stand 853 and confirms the canopy breaks shown by the Canopy Index map.