Forest Structure Information

Gaining detailed Informations about the Structure of biosphere reserve "Pfälzerwald" using Remote Sensing Technology.
The following article deals with high-resolution remote sensing of dynamic and stable forest structure information for the test region “Quellgebiet der Wieslauter”, which is the biggest core zone of the transnational biosphere reserve Pfälzerwald-Nordvogesen. The study was promoted by Landesforsten Rhineland-Palatina via the research institute for forest ecology and forestry (FAWF) in Trippstadt. The aim was to analyse the current forest structure via remote sensing and to estimate the possible monitoring potential for the prospective forest development in GIS.
Because of his forest density the “Pfälzerwald” is the largest woodland of the federal republic of Germany. Within his classification as biosphere reserve it is departed in 3 zones of different protection and development aims. The so called core zone has the highest protection status. In the core zone the natural processes should not be influenced by humans.
The main methodology was based on the integration of actual remote sensing methods like the GIS based analysis of digital elevation models by ALS (Aiborne Laserscanning) or photogrammetic creation. Additionally digital air images with an integrated infrared channel were used. Tree height, canopy cover, gaps and differentiation between deciduous and coniferous trees were used to answer forest ecological and forestry questions.
In addition to this dynamic information more topographic information could be derived on the basis of a high-resolution digital terrain model. This includes for example the topographic soil moisture, the topographic sun exposure, the slope gradient, the exposition or heat islands.
The comprehensive information can be helpful by many questions:
  • Support by forest inventory
  • Characterization of the forest
  • To give an opinion about the habitat of wild animals
  • Monitoring and change detection
  • Nature protection and landscape maintenance
  • Assistance to keep the land open
A sequential monitoring of the forest structure is also possible because the aerial images are recorded every two years. A part of the presented data models are released on the internet on ArcGis Online and are available in form of a detailed interactive web application.
Gaps in Forest

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