New Approach for forest inventory estimation and timber harvesting planning in mountain areas: the SLOPE project
Keywords: Digital Forest models, 3D, Terrestrial Laser scanning, UAV, Computer Graphics, Forest production
Abstract. Forests represent an important economic resource for mountainous areas being for a few region and mountain communities the main form of income. However, wood chain management in these contexts differs from the traditional schemes due to the limits imposed by terrain morphology, both for the operation planning aspects and the hardware requirements. In fact, forest organizational and technical problems require a wider strategic and detailed level of planning to reach the level of productivity of forest operation techniques applied on flatlands.
In particular, a perfect knowledge of forest inventories improves long-term management sustainability and efficiency allowing a better understanding of forest ecosystems. However, this knowledge is usually based on historical parcel information with only few cases of remote sensing information from satellite imageries. This is not enough to fully exploit the benefit of the mountain areas forest stocks where the economic and ecological value of each single parcel depends on singletree characteristics.
The work presented in this paper, based on the results of the SLOPE (Integrated proceSsing and controL systems fOr sustainable forest Production in mountain arEas) project, investigates the capability to generate, manage and visualize detailed virtual forest models using geospatial information, combining data acquired from traditional on-the-field laser scanning surveys technologies with new aerial survey through UAV systems. These models are then combined with interactive 3D virtual globes for continuous assessment of resource characteristics, harvesting planning and real-time monitoring of the whole production.