Forest Resources Assessment - WP n.61



A remote sensing background paper for Kotka IV expert consultation
01.07-05.07.2002, Kotka, Finland




Erkki Tomppo,
Raymond L. Czaplewski and Kai Mäkisara
Rome, 2002

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme

Forests are crucial for the well being of humanity. They provide foundations for life on earth through ecological functions, by regulating the climate and water resources and by serving as habitats for plants and animals. Forests also furnish a wide range of essential goods such as wood, food, fodder and medicines, in addition to opportunities for recreation, spiritual renewal and other services.

Today, forests are under pressure from increasing demands of land-based products and services, which frequently leads to the conversion or degradation of forests into unsustainable forms of land use. When forests are lost or severely degraded, their capacity to function as regulators of the environment is also lost, increasing flood and erosion hazards, reducing soil fertility and contributing to the loss of plant and animal life. As a result, the sustainable provision of goods and services from forests is jeopardized.

FAO, at the request of the member nations and the world community, regularly monitors the world’s forests through the Forest Resources Assessment Programme. The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000), reviewed the forest situation by the end of the millennium. FRA 2000 included country-level information based on existing forest inventory data, regional investigations of land-cover change processes and a number of global studies focusing on the interaction between people and forests. The FRA 2000 Main report published in print and on the World Wide Web in 2001.

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme is organized under the Forest Resources Division (FOR) at FAO headquarters in Rome. Contact persons are:

Peter Holmgren [email protected]

Mohamed Saket [email protected]

or use the e-mail address: [email protected]


The Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) Working Paper Series is designed to reflect the activities and progress of the FRA Programme of FAO. Working Papers are not authoritative information sources – they do not reflect the official position of FAO and should not be used for official purposes. Please refer to the FAO forestry website ( for access to official information.

The FRA Working Paper Series provides an important forum for the rapid release of preliminary findings needed for validation and to facilitate the final development of official quality-controlled publications. Should users find any errors in the documents or have comments for improving their quality they should contact [email protected].


Erkki Tomppo
Finnish Forest Research Institute, National Forest Inventory
Unioninkatu 40 A, FIN-00170 Helsinki, Finland
tel. +358 9 857 05 340, fax +358 9 625 308,
e-mail: [email protected]

Raymond L. Czaplewski
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Forest Inventory and Monitoring Environmetrics
2150 Centre Avenue Building A,
Fort Collins, CO, 80526-1981 USA
tel. +1-970- 295 5973, fax, +1-970-295-5959,
e-mail: [email protected]

Kai Mäkisara
Finnish Forest Research Institute, National Forest Inventory
Unioninkatu 40 A, FIN-00170 Helsinki, Finland
tel. +358 9 857 05 334, fax +358 9 625 308,
e-mail: [email protected]


Introduction, objectives and alternative remote sensing scenarios for FRA

1. Inventory regions and sub-regions

2. Review of methods

2.1. Relative calibration of images

2.1.1. The physical model
2.1.2. Atmospheric correction
2.1.3. Relative calibration

2.2. Methods for delineating analysis units
2.3. Feature analysis
2.4. Estimation using combined field measurements and remote sensing

2.4.1. Discriminant analysis
2.4.2. k-nn estimation
2.4.3. Artificial neural networks
2.4.4. Regression analysis

3. Remote sensing material

3.1. Background
3.2. Sensor Classification
3.3. Covering the globe with image samples

4. Survey design cases and the evaluation of the cases

4.1. Identification of the parameters to be estimated
4.2. Examples of global level costs
4.3. Demonstration of the standard errors in Europe and CIS

5. Conclusions and discussion


Appendix 1: Simulation study for Europe and CIS

Appendix 2: Additional Data on Remote Sensing Instruments

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