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Digital forest inventory at individual tree level: From drone survey to actionable forest management plan

Sustainable forest management planning requires gathering reliable information on the current state of the forest and developing an understanding of on-going and future changes in the forest ecosystem.

The forest inventory systems play a key role here, since errors and uncertainties in the forest inventory data will lead to suboptimal decisions across the forest supply chain. This document describes the workflow of IPTIM Treewise, a forest inventory system based on drone-mounted cameras.

Until recent decades, forest inventories have mostly relied on sample plot inventories where plots are manually measured for each management unit.

In some countries, airborne laser scanning (ALS) has become the mainstream method to produce wall-to-wall forest inventory attribute maps for operational forest management purposes. The next step in the digitalisation of forest inventories is offered by drones. Drone-mounted cameras can be used to measure every tree in the dominant canopy layer. The technology is affordable and well available globally.

Learn more about the topic as part of a Smart Forestry document series which provides insight to managing forest assets on an advanced level.