Shrub Mapping -

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Conifer forest planting and ensuring optimal growth is costly and time-consuming, the most critical phase for young seedling growth being the 10 years after planting. The main reason for a poor growth or even destruction of the seedlings is the rapid growth of leaf plants, which hamper the vitality and growth of conifer plants.

One of the biggest challenges is that the forest areas are huge and forest owners or forest management organisations do not know the locations of these critical areas or the optimal period for forest management work.

SATELLIO develops a cloud service based on Earth observation and multi-source data for mapping large forest areas, analysing and monitoring the shrub situation in conifer forests and generating insights about the need for forest management duties anywhere in the world.

Users and their needs

About 15% of ground on Earth is covered by boreal forests, corresponding to a total area of more than 15 million square kilometres. Boreal forests provide renewable raw materials for industrial use and are valuable both for owners and buyers.

Rapidly growing leaf plants like shrubs can block the growth of conifer seedlings, as such impacted conifer seedlings lack sunlight and the space to grow. This problem of shrubs arises after few years from planting of conifer seedlings. According to estimates, about one million square kilometres of shrub areas in the borealis area require treatment to prevent the negative impact on conifer plants.

Targeted are young forest management duties that are mainly being performed by human labour, which is relatively slow and costly. A better and more comprehensive monitoring of the forest areas and growth stages of shrubs can significantly reduce the time and increase the yield by optimising and timing these works. 

Nordic countries, Russia, North America, Baltic states.

Service/ system concept

The envisaged service offers shrub monitoring for large geographical areas utilising satellite data. The service offers up-to-date data about the shrub situation that can be easily integrated into customer systems.

 Shrub mapping consists of three parts: data acquisition, processing and analysis. The acquired data is processed, analysed and then the shrub situation result is presented on the map for better planning of the forest management activities. 

Space Added Value

Earth observation and satellite navigation enable the monitoring and positioning of large forest areas anywhere in the world. Acquired data is analysed and as a result shrub situation is mapped. Based on shrub mapping forest management duties can be improved and optimised.

Using satellite data makes it possible to scale the business model globally. In addition, evolving space technology, such as new Earth observation satellites, e.g. with higher spatial accuracy, enhances results and opens up new business opportunities.

Current Status

The first Progress Meeting was held in Helsinki, Finland in January 2018.

Currently, the project focuses on assessing the technical feasibility and building a base for a sustainable business model. The first results of the project appear to be very promising and the feedback from the forestry market towards the project has been positive.

Based on the results of the project, the aim is to proceed to the piloting and demonstration phase.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Joni Norppa
Satellio Oy (Ltd), Ilmalankatu 2 C
00240 Helsinki
+358 50 360 8096

ESA Project Manager

Christian Walter
ESA ESCAT, Harwell Campus. Fermi Avenue.
OX11 0FD
United Kingdom

Status Date

Updated: 19 February 2018 - Created: 19 February 2018