Successful launch of #ForestTalks webinar series on European forest monitoring

13 May 2024

Last week, marked the successful start of the new joint webinar series, #ForestTalks, organised by PathFinder, ForestNavigator and ForestPaths. The webinar, “Towards a Common European Forest Monitoring System”, addressed the new forest monitoring regulation and discussed which data and methods are available for forest monitoring, and how information from a European forest monitoring system can be used for policy support. It was held on 30 April 2024, attracting 165 participants from diverse sectors, underscoring the significant interest and urgency in enhancing forest monitoring in Europe.

During the webinar Ruben Van De Kerchove from VITO, a partner in the ForestPaths project, contributed to the panel discussion by highlighting the challenges and uncertainties inherent in remote sensing data used for forest monitoring. Per Ruben, “[ForestPaths] aims to demystify remote sensing data products for users by including quality flags for uncertainties and providing essential training to enhance effective utilisation". He also discussed how integrating in-situ and remote sensing data helps create detailed maps of forest composition and structures, essential for calibrating forest simulation models to support policy development. In addition, Hans Verkerk, coordinator of the ForestPaths project, highlighted how the project’s results can support the forest monitoring regulation. 

The Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission presented the legislative proposal on forest monitoring and expressed particular interest in the integration capabilities of the proposed methodologies with existing observation tools. They pointed out the value of the PathFinder project in enhancing field survey designs, ForestNavigator’s potential in real-time monitoring, and ForestPaths’ innovative approach to developing maps for species composition and forest structure in addition to the algorithm for cause-attribution maps of forest disturbances. 

Annemarie Bastrup-Birk, an expert at the EEA in forest information systems and sustainable forestry and a member of the ForestPaths Scientific Advisory Board, addressed the urgent need for accessible information on forest health. She emphasised the impact of climate change on forests, the effects of temperature changes, and the importance of tracking sustainable management practices. Bastrup-Birk also highlighted the broad spectrum of information users, ranging from policymakers at the European and member state levels to the general public, underscoring the necessity for inclusive and accessible data dissemination.

The Forest Talks webinar series focuses on co-designing policy pathways for EU forests that support climate, biodiversity, and bioeconomy objectives. The webinars aim to serve as a vital platform for fostering dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders, policymakers, and the scientific community. 

You can expect to find future recordings of the Forest Talks webinar series on ForestPaths website and YouTube channel

The first Forest Talks webinar session on YouTube.