Close this search box.

Three-dimensional Forest Ecosystem Monitoring and Better Understanding by Terrestrial-based Technologies


Description of the Action

Forest ecosystems across the world are facing high pressures due to climate changes. In many areas, they are in a transition to adopt the changes. However, many are damaged in this process. It is crucial to make forest ecosystems more resistant to face these challenges, through resilience strengthening and close-to-nature forestry. Implementing such approaches and monitoring their progress requires accurate knowledge about forest ecosystems that rely on a forest in situ data at high spatial and temporal resolution.

Novel terrestrial-based technologies will play an important part to face these challenges. Such technologies have experienced a fast development in recent years. The forests can now be observed and monitored in a very high spatial and temporal resolution that was not possible even a few years ago. Researchers and practitioners are facing a unique opportunity to deepen the understanding of forest ecosystems and to change the forestry to adopt the climate, environment and industrial changes. Various research groups across EU and beyond are testing such technologies or developing processing algorithms for precision forestry and forest ecology. But further cooperation is strongly required.

3DForEcoTech project aims to establish a strong network of scientists and stakeholders (i.e. practitioners) and sensor manufacturers to synchronise the knowledge, to develop general protocols and algorithms for forest ecosystem state survey and forest functioning, and to make these novel technologies available to a broad audience. Specifically, 3DForEcoTech will develop protocols for data acquisition, processing, fusion for forest inventory and ecological applications, and will establish open-data and open-source algorithm databases.



The Action aim is to motivate and promote the European forest inventory, monitoring, and management practices towards the 4th industrial revolution by implementing novel terrestrial-based technologies. Furthermore, the aim is to create a strong basis for wider usage of novel terrestrial-based technologies within forest ecology research.

The key research questions and challenges that will be addressed by the Action are as follows:

  • What is the gap between the current capacity and the need from the practice?
  • What are the challenges for adopting the new technologies in practical applications?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities in the education to transfer the new knowledge to the students and operation staff?
  • What are the most relevant novel terrestrial-based technologies for a particular application, e.g., precision forestry and forest ecology research, and what are their pros and cons?
  • What are the most efficient and accurate protocols for data collection and curation for precision forestry and forest ecology research using novel terrestrial-based technologies?
  • What forest parameters are available and measurable by using novel terrestrial-based technologies at both stand and individual tree levels?
  • What are the challenges and solutions to fuse the terrestrial with areal and spaceborne data?
  • What are the important factors in choosing novel terrestrial-based technologies and protocols?


Research Coordination
  • Development of a common understanding and definition of the most relevant and available novel terrestrial-based technologies for accurate and efficient three-dimensional reconstruction of forest stands as well as individual trees.
  • Coordination in seeking information on efficient protocols for data collection, processing, and fusion of novel terrestrial-based technologies data for precision forestry and forest ecology research.
  • Selection of the most important factors that have to be considered when deciding which technology or protocol should be used.
  • Comparison and performance assessment of identified novel terrestrial-based technologies for different precision forestry and forest ecology applications.
  • Coordination of algorithm testing based on an established open database of available data collected by novel terrestrial-based technologies and open database of available algorithms and software for processing.
  • Dissemination of the gathered and created knowledge with all relevant stakeholders and motivate them to cooperate.
  • Education of Early Career Investigators, especially from ITC countries.
Capacity Building
  • Bringing together researchers with different backgrounds (e.g. novel terrestrial-based technologies; forest ecology; forest inventory, monitoring and management) with practitioners and stakeholders from the forestry sector will create an interdisciplinary network. This interdisciplinarity will ensure breakthroughs and innovations at the European level.
  • The Action will motivate and ease the use and implantation of novel terrestrial-based technologies usage by PhD students and Early Career Investigators within their research, especially those who do not primarily focus on such technologies.
  • The modernization of research methods by means of novel terrestrial-based technologies within precision forestry and forest ecology research of groups that are not very familiar with such technologies. Especially groups from ITC countries.