Forest Management: New tool utilizes Copernicus satellite data and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to map, mitigate, and prevent threats to EU forests

Forest Management: New tool utilizes Copernicus satellite data and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to map, mitigate, and prevent threats to EU forests

(IN BRIEF) The Horizon Europe-funded SWIFTT project introduces a tool using Copernicus satellite data and AI to combat forest threats like insect outbreaks, wildfires, and windthrow. This innovation aims to boost productivity and cost-effectiveness for forest managers and policymakers. Forests face increased risks due to climate change. SWIFTT provides remote sensing tools for proactive management, detecting and mapping threats with satellite imagery. The project, supported by a €2.8 million grant, involves partners from multiple countries and highlights the EU’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

(PRESS RELEASE) PARIS, 13-Jun-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — A new tool designed to revolutionize forest management across Europe has been unveiled via a press release on EuropaWire, promising to increase productivity and cost-effectiveness for forest managers, authorities, and policymakers. The SWIFTT project, funded by the Horizon Europe program, utilizes Copernicus satellite data and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to map, mitigate, and prevent threats to EU forests.

Forests are critical ecosystems that support 300 million people and provide livelihoods for an additional 1.6 billion. They deliver essential services such as hydrological regulation, erosion prevention, and carbon storage, valued at over €100 trillion annually. However, these ecosystems face increasing threats from insect outbreaks, wildfires, and windthrow, exacerbated by climate change. These threats result in significant habitat loss and a reduction in the amount of CO2 sequestered annually by over 4850 million tons.

SWIFTT aims to address these challenges by providing forest managers with affordable and effective remote sensing tools, enabling proactive management of forest health. The project’s holistic monitoring service uses Copernicus satellite imagery to detect and map risks, supported by powerful AI models.

“The goal of the Horizon Europe SWIFTT project is to help foresters better manage their projects through affordable, simple, and effective remote sensing tools. Backed up by Copernicus’s satellite imagery and cutting-edge artificial intelligence methods, our solution provides next-generation risk modelling to ensure the longevity of this precious environmental resource in the face of climate change,” said Ariane Kaploun, Head of Nature-based Solutions at AXA Climate and SWIFTT’s project coordinator.

Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation program, provides extensive data that supports various applications. Chiara Solimini, SWIFTT’s project officer at the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), emphasized the project’s contribution to the EU Forest Strategy, aiming to strengthen the protection, restoration, and resilience of Europe’s forests.

As SWIFTT reaches its halfway mark, its platform and accompanying web and mobile apps are under development. These tools will notify foresters of areas at risk of windthrow damage, insect outbreaks, and wildfires. Concurrently, research partners are enhancing AI models with satellite imagery analysis to improve threat identification.

End-user partners equipped with tools utilizing the EU’s Galileo system are collecting precise, geo-referenced forest data in Belgium, France, Germany, and Latvia. Quentin d’Huart, CEO at project partner Timbtrack, highlighted the project’s integration of Copernicus and Galileo systems to provide an easy-to-use application for forest managers and stakeholders.

The SWIFTT consortium includes AXA Climate (FR), Da Vinci Labs (FR), Groupe Coopération Forestière (FR), Leibniz University Hannover (DE), Rigas Mezi (LV), Space Research Institute of Ukraine (UA), University of Bari Aldo Moro (IT), Timbtrack (BE), and Wildsense (FR). The project has secured a €2.8 million grant from the Horizon Europe program, managed by EUSPA.

Other Notable Projects Awarded Horizon Europe Grants

100KTREEs: This project aims to enhance urban environments by planting more trees to improve air quality, biodiversity, and human wellbeing, with test cases in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Copenhagen, Denmark.

BirdWatch: Focuses on restoring spatial heterogeneity on farmland to support biodiversity, using satellite data and species distribution modelling to monitor and optimize farmland habitats.

BUILDSPACE: Combines terrestrial data, drone imaging, and satellite services to deliver innovative energy-efficient building and urban planning solutions.

CLUG 2.0: Aims to enhance train localization systems using GNSS, demonstrating a multi-sensor fusion architecture to improve rail safety and efficiency.

MAGDA: Develops a toolchain for high-resolution weather forecasting and agricultural monitoring, leveraging GNSS, drones, and Copernicus data to benefit agricultural operations.

RESPONDENT: Integrates renewable energy sources into Europe’s power grids using Galileo and Copernicus systems, promoting sustainable energy solutions to combat climate change.

These projects underscore the EU’s commitment to leveraging advanced technologies to foster the European Green Deal and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

For more information about SWIFTT and other Horizon Europe projects, visit the official websites and follow ongoing developments.

SOURCE: SWIFTT consortium /  EuropaWire

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