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2010 - 2011

Social Forest Planning project

The overall objective of the Social Forest Planning project is to develop and demonstrate a novel system for forest management planning and updating of present plans.

The system to be developed combines images from cellular phones with remote sensing data to predict forest variables. The variables are input to a Planner Engine that outputs forest resources information for every forest stand and creates either an online forest resource summary or a forest management plan. The GPS based location information in the images makes it possible to introduce them easily as in-situ reference data.


Forest inventory data acquisition for the Social Forest Planning system.

The main technical development goal of Social Forest is to develop automatic and interactive methods for the cell phone image analysis.

VTT has submitted a patent application “A novel method and arrangement for making observations of forests and processing (FI20105778)” on the general principle of forest variable retrieval with cell phone images.

The detailed objectives are:

  • Method development for automatic tree stem detection from the cell phone images. This enables automatic computation of tree stem basal area [m2/ha], the key variable in the estimation of the growing stock volume.

  • Method development for the interactive retrieval of key variables of forest inventory. The interactive module utilizes results of the automatic analysis as much as possible.

  • Method development for the transmission and archiving of the cell phone images through the internet. This is based on an existing pilot solution at VTT.

  • Development of methods for the processing and analysis of Unmanned Aerial Vehicel (UAV) images.

  • Use of the cell phone-based data as reference to UAV and satellite image analysis to predict the forest variable values wall-to-wall.

  • Development of Planner Engine that combines all available forest information and creates a real time resource summary or management plan.

The development of an operational system is out of scope of SocialForest and will be realised in future development projects.

The Social Forest Planning is a parallel research activity, coordinated by VTT. The other partners are Stora Enso Oyj, MosaicMill Oy, Simosol Oy, and University of Helsinki. It is funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and project partners. The research started in May 2010 and the project will be completed by the end of 2011.