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Natural Climate Solutions
Jan 15 • 3 min read

Forest Flux: a first of its kind carbon analysis

From climate change to carbon trading, carbon analyses are gathering ever more attention. Organisations around the world are demanding accurate and efficient solutions to understand how carbon is stored in the different carbon pools, how it is exchanged across these pools (i.e. carbon fluxes) and how all this can be calculated in an accurate and efficient manner.

In Simosol we are at the forefront of carbon analysis. Together with our partners*, we kicked off Forest Flux – a EU funded H2020 Research and Innovation project. The services developed in Forest Flux will deliver high resolution maps that quantify the storages and flows of carbon in forests and plantations around the world.

What kind of services will be delivered?

There are three main categories of interrelated services. First, we will deliver baseline inventory services, including forest (ecology) inventories and biomass and carbon inventories. Second, we will offer periodic flux services, including the monitoring of forests and wood-product sequestration. Third, we will deliver forest management services to allow users to accurately understand the carbon-consequences of their different management options.

Aren’t these services already being offered in the market?

No. At least not as they should be. The reason is simple, at the moment these kinds of products are being delivered in non-integrated offerings. For example, carbon flux products are being offered with the consideration of neither earth-observation forest analyses nor wood product life cycle modelling. And this is inaccurate to say the least.

It is inaccurate because carbon flux analyses require comprehensive estimations of forest inventories (as these are the basis for understanding the sequestration in the forests) and a comprehensive understanding of the carbon balance of primary and secondary products (because there are differences in harvesting wood for log-houses when compared to harvesting for charcoal or pulp-and-paper). The following figure shows how the existent offering in the market is being delivered.

The point is: it is very important to factor all these elements into the carbon flux model as variables. As a result, even if the product portfolio and forest inventory changes, the estimation of carbon fluxes can be accurately retained. To date, this type of holistic and dynamic forest carbon flux modelling has been missing.

Where is the data coming from?

The data is being obtained from the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme by ESA, which is the largest-earth observing system in the world. By continuously measuring parameters in the atmosphere, land and oceans; the Programme provides new capacities to address issues such as CO2 monitoring, climate change and food security.

The data will then be analysed through three main solutions, namely forest structural variables algorithms (developed by VTT), carbon flux prediction models (developed by the University of Helsinki and the University of Lisbon) and carbon life cycle balance models (developed by Simosol through the Iptim Carbon solution). The processing will be conducted on the Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform (F-TEP), developed with the support of ESA, to deliver Earth Observation data based services for the forestry community across the globe.

* Partners include Simosol, VTT and University of Helsinki from Finland, Unique Forestry and Land Use from Germany, University of Lisbon from Portugal and National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry from Romania.

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