Satellite forest monitoring system, KEDR, performs all year round
The field testing conducted in the southern Far East demonstrated that it is effective all year round.
KEDR system for monitoring change in forest canopy is introduced into service in the Russian Far East by the initiative of WWF Russia with support of the Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East and the administration of President in the Far Eastern Federal District. The system registers illegal logging in Korean pine broadleaved forests based on automatic analysis of medium resolution satellite images during the vegetation season and in winter period. The signals are sent to the control stations of the Forestry Department of Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces in real time mode.
The first field tests of KEDR system were held in August-September 2015 on the territory of forestry units in Khabarovsky and Primorsky Provinces. They demonstrated a high efficiency of the automatic algorithm. Changes in forest canopy identified from space images were confirmed in 79% of cases, including 52% of forest changes related to logging operations. The system is capable to detect even a small illegal cut of 64 sq. m (0,0064 hectares). And in some cases it can even see cuts of single trees. The only uncertainty about its capacity was KEDR’s performance in winter period.
“Large part of mixed Korean pine and broadleaved forests of the southern Far East consists of deciduous trees. Automatic analysis of space images in vegetation and leafless period is different, - comments Dmitry Sychikov, senior coordinator of forest projects of WWF-Russia Amur branch. - After field tests in summer-fall vegetation season we received a lot of questions if KEDR is efficient in winter period. We collected substantial amount of data to train the algorithm, and the field checks proved it works all year round.”
In winter period deciduous trees cover is naturally reduced. Therefore space images can identify less changes than in vegetation season. Since December 2015 to April 2016 in order to train KEDR algorithm in leafless period, data collection was organized in model areas. More than 300 objects were examined in Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces.
In 42 (67%) cases the changes in forest canopy were confirmed, in 21 (33%) cases the changes were not found. However, it should be noted that in all cases when changes in canopy were not discovered all signals were related to old logging sites. It means that the system did not give false signals.
“In the context of a wide scale problem of illegal logging and lack of staff in forest protection state services, putting KEDR system into use is a considerable support. It may change the forest protection for the better, - believes Dmitry Sychikov. – Special operative groups are created to work with KEDR system in Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces which allow to increase the efficiency of detecting illegal logging operations. The creation of special operative groups under KEDR will prevent the leaks of information about raids to “black” loggers and minimize corruption component in the work of forestry and law enforcement agencies to detect and prevent illegal logging.”
The report on KEDR system and its further development will be discussed on the 3rd of June in Federal Forestry Agency in Primorsky Province.