SWIFTT: A Copernicus-based forest management tool to map, mitigate, and prevent the main threats to EU forests

Forester in Latvia collects precise, time-stamped and geo-referenced forest data sets being used as training data for SWIFTT’s machine learning models.

The solution will increase forest management productivity and cost-effectiveness, and enable forest managers, authorities, and policymakers to deal with forest threats proactively

(IN BRIEF) Insect outbreaks, wildfires, and windthrow pose significant threats to European forests, exacerbated by climate change-induced extreme weather events like droughts and heatwaves. The Horizon Europe SWIFTT project aims to aid foresters in managing these risks through affordable remote sensing tools powered by Copernicus satellite data and AI. By providing mapping notifications and risk modeling for windthrow, insect outbreaks, and wildfires, SWIFTT enhances forest resilience. With support from partners across Europe and a €2.8M grant, SWIFTT is set to make a lasting impact on forest management in the face of climate change. Learn more at swiftt.eu.

(PRESS RELEASE) PARIS, 12-Jun-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Insect outbreaks, wildfires, and windthrow are responsible for most of the biomass loss in European forests. These threats are intensified by climate change: the ever more frequent extreme weather events – like droughts, heatwaves, and storms – make trees even more vulnerable to insects and pathogens, damage and uprooting by strong winds, and to becoming dry fuel for wildfires which spread faster and burn for longer.

“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,” says Ariane Kaploun, Head of Nature-based Solutions at AXA Climate and SWIFTT’s project coordinator.

The European Union’s Earth observation programme Copernicus monitors our planet and its environment, providing vast amounts of data that supports applications in many non-space domains.  “With Earth Observation data coming from Copernicus satellites, the SWIFTT project can contribute to the EU Forest Strategy aim of strengthening the protection, restoration, and resilience of Europe’s forests,” highlights Chiara Solimini, SWIFTT’s project officer at the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA).

As the project reaches its halfway mark, the SWIFTT platform, alongside its web and mobile apps, is under development by our technology partners. It will provide foresters with mapping notifications of areas in their forests at risk of windthrow damage, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. Meanwhile, the research partners are working hard in the analysis of satellite imagery and the creation and improvement of the AI models that will make it possible for SWIFTT to identify those threats.

The quality of those models is largely dependent on the training data used as input. As such, SWIFTT’s end-user partners are equipped with tools working with the in-house app and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), including the EU’s Galileo system operated by EUSPA, to collect precise, time-stamped and geo-referenced forest data sets in Belgium, France, Germany, and Latvia.

“SWIFFT is leveraging synergies among the different space components Copernicus and Galileo to address forest health threats providing an easy-to-use application to forest managers and stakeholders,” says Quentin d’Huart, CEO at project partner Timbtrack.

By combining this rich satellite data and powerful machine learning models, SWIFTT will help foresters (i) identify changes in tree health, map dieback in their forests, and coordinate sanitary cuts faster, (ii) map windthrow damage after a storm for post-storm forest management, and (iii) identify areas at high risk of wildfires. With SWIFTT’s sustainable, effective, and low-cost forest management tool, Europe will be better positioned to combat climate change and preserve our biodiversity through healthier forests.

Learn more: https://swiftt.eu/

The SWIFTT consortium is composed of 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 been awarded a highly competitive grant in the Horizon Europe funding programme, in the topic ‘EGNSS & Copernicus applications fostering the European Green Deal’ managed by EUSPA. The partners will receive a cumulative €2.8M grant from the EUSPA/European Commission between 2022 and 2025.

Media contact:

Da Vinci Labs


Q1: What is the SWIFTT project?

A1: SWIFTT is a Horizon Europe project that uses Copernicus satellite data and AI to help foresters map, mitigate, and prevent threats like insect outbreaks, wildfires, and windthrow in EU forests.

Q2: Who coordinates the SWIFTT project?

A2: The project is coordinated by Ariane Kaploun, Head of Nature-based Solutions at AXA Climate.

Q3: What is the goal of the SWIFTT project?

A3: The goal is to provide foresters with affordable, simple, and effective remote sensing tools to ensure the longevity of forests in the face of climate change.

Q4: How does SWIFTT help foresters?

A4: SWIFTT provides mapping notifications for areas at risk of windthrow damage, insect outbreaks, and wildfire, enabling foresters to take timely action.

Q5: What data sources does SWIFTT use?

A5: SWIFTT uses Earth Observation data from Copernicus satellites and the EU’s Galileo GNSS for precise, geo-referenced forest data.

Q6: Who are the technology partners involved in SWIFTT?

A6: Technology partners include Timbtrack, Da Vinci Labs, and others who are developing the SWIFTT platform, web, and mobile apps.

Q7: What are the key benefits of SWIFTT’s forest management tool?

A7: Benefits include identifying tree health changes, mapping windthrow damage, identifying high-risk wildfire areas, and coordinating sanitary cuts faster.

Q8: Which countries are involved in the SWIFTT project?

A8: Belgium, France, Germany, and Latvia are involved in collecting forest data for the project.

Q9: What funding does the SWIFTT project receive?

A9: The project receives a €2.8M grant from the Horizon Europe funding programme managed by EUSPA/European Commission.

Q10: Where can I learn more about the SWIFTT project?

A10: More information is available on their website: https://swiftt.eu/


SOURCE: SWIFTT consortium


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