Tree species mapping from space

In ForestTECH, Issue18 by FIEA

Whether you’re the owner of a small private woodland or a forestry company responsible for millions of acres, Rezatec have created a free, useful guide on identifying and mapping tree species distribution.

Understanding what tree species you have and where they are is critical for effective forest management and commercial decision-making. The ‘Earth Observation for Tree Species Mapping’ guide, available here, explores the common challenges of identifying species using traditional aerial technologies and how satellite data can be used to quickly, accurately and cost-effectively identify and map tree species distribution.

Tim Vallings, Vice President, Global Resources at Rezatec commented: “It shows you what’s going on in the entire forest, not just small parts of it, giving you a complete and accurate picture of tree species and their location.” Rezatec presents the data in an online portal which makes it easy to understand for any stakeholder as well as taking the risk out of commercial ventures and supporting informed business decisions.

Tree species identification from satellite data requires calibration plots of less than 1 per 100 acres. Compared to other methods, this represents a significant saving in operational time and money.

The key benefits of using satellite data in tree species mapping are:

– Savings of up to 80% in operational expenditure,
– Refreshes up to every week,
– Tree species accuracy up to 90%

So far, Rezatec have mapped tree species distribution to meet a variety of requirements across an expanding list of locations around the world, including the UK, US, Europe, Canada and Australia. Their robust methodology enables an ever-growing number of species to be classified with 80 to 90% accuracy, supporting informed commercial decisions. Rezatec can apply confidence limits for risk assessment, and as a result can create data suitable for a range of users.

Rezatec presented to ForestTECH delegates at a previous series in both countries. A number of recent advances relating to satellite imagery and the collection, processing and the practical operational use of data being collected, will be covered by Interpine Group, Indufor Asia Pacific, and Pan Pac Forest Products in the upcoming series, ForestTECH 2018. Full details on the November programme can be found on the event website,

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