Remote sensing

Remote sensing describes the acquisition of information about the earth surface without making physical contact, using sensors mounted to - for example -  satellites, aircrafts or drones. We use remote sensing to understand where, when and why forests are disturbed, how they recover after disturbance, and how disturbances shape forest structures and functions. The data and maps we create are used in manifold other research projects and applications.

European forest disturbance map

We develop spatially explicit maps on forest disturbances across the European continent over more than three decades, depicting all canopy changes caused by various agents of change, including harvest, windthrow, fire and bark beetle. Those maps are based on the analysis of more than 30,000 satellite images and they will be continuously updated and improved. The maps are freely available to all users ( and can be explored online.

Laser-scanning data

Using Laser-scanning data we model forests in 3D to understand how the environment and disturbances shape the structure of trees and forests. We acquire laser-scanning data from airplanes/helicopters, drones and on the ground. Laser-scanning data gives detailed insights into the structure of individual trees and forests and, if repeated over time, how structure changes. That way, laser-scanning allows for tracking the impacts on forest disturbances on forest structure at scales difficult to assess using classical field observations alone.

Insights at large scales

Our data and maps serve as input to many applied research and management projects, providing insights at large scales and over long temporal periods. Our data and maps are, for example, used for wildlife habitat modeling, the assessment of natural hazard risks, or for the management of forest resources. We also provide seamless and harmonized data to other researchers who want to combine their field data with the broad-scale view offered by remote sensing. If you’re interested in collaborating, do not hesitate to contact us!