Development of up-to-date forest resource information for Russia

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is developing a competitive solution for the production and use of up-to-date forest resource information in the Russian market. Combining the Finnish forest planning competency with forest resource data collected by unmanned drones, the development work aims to reduce the amount of field work and the resultant costs. It puts together information from three sources in the forest collection resource data: satellite imagery, imaging by unmanned drones and sample plot measurements.

The collection method for the forest resource data is under development, and is competitive and innovative for conditions where roads are poor and road network coverage limits measurements in the field. Availability of Russia’s up-to-date data is less than 10% of the country’s forest area. In addition, outdated forest resource data of questionable quality is a problem too, since, in the worst-case scenario, companies are forced to base their investment decisions on guesswork, said senior scientist at LUKE, Eugene Lopatin.

The solution is still being developed under the new project “Eastern Finnish competence provides a competitive solution for the management of up-to-date forest resource information in Russia” (ISKRA), a study on the cost-efficiency of the latest technology and adapting Finnish forest planning solutions to Russian conditions. Forest resource data collection will be piloted in forest areas leased by a Finnish company in the Republic of Karelia.

In order to promote know-how, the project produces a forest stand simulator in Russian that is used to demonstrate the effects of different forest management alternatives on total roundwood removals and economic profitability, for example. In addition, optimised forest management options will be produced for a pilot company and a prototype program developed for the preparation of a Russian forest plan.

Creating demand in Russia, Finnish forest expertise appreciated

Russia is a large and developing area for Finnish forest bioeconomic know-how, especially since the goal of Russia’s forest policy is to adopt intensive forestry methods, in which Finland is seen as a benchmark. While the Finnish forestry know-how is well known and appreciated in Russia, the export of Finnish expertise has been relatively modest as access to the Russian market requires better productization of know-how and references.

The transition to intensive forestry is necessary, particularly in north-west Russia which has a large timber-processing industry. All forest stands that are accessible in economically viable terms have been harvested in forests leased by companies. To secure their future timber supply, companies must therefore begin intensive timber production. Up-to-date information on forest resources is a basic requirement for this. Since there are several thousands of forest-leasing companies in Russia, the project’s products are in demand, Sari Karvinen said, a research scientist at Luke.

The development and testing of a method suitable for Russia is being facilitated by funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Council of North Karelia. Companies will continue with the commercialisation of the results after the project.


Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)