Remote Sensing for Alpine Forest Monitoring
Forest areas cover large parts of the Alps. In the mountains, the main functions of the forests are referring to the protection of people and infrastructure against natural hazards such as avalanches, landslides and rockfalls. However, the protective effect of many forests is threatened by their poor condition and poor forest regeneration capabilities. Information on the state of the forest therefore is an important basis for the sustainable management of protected forests. The key forest parameters that can be mentioned in this context are the forest border line, tree species distribution, age of the forests, biomass as well as structural parameters such as vertical stand structure and forest density. The paper presents the possibilities and limits of satellite image data as well as of Airborne LiDAR data for the assessment of these parameters. The results presented are achieved by the EUFODOS project financed by the 7th Frame Work Programme of the European Commission  and the project ALS—Steiermark financed by Waldverband Steiermark. EUFODOS was focussing on the development of methods for pan-European identification of forest damage whereas the aim of ALS—Steiermark was to apply these methods to the entire area of the province of Styria.
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