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Project details

ARCADIA SIT is a partner of the European consortium for the provision of services in the field of GIS and remote sensing, under the DESIS framework contract, the project is developed by CCR – IES – Institute for the environment and sustainability / LMNH Management unit of soils and natural hazards.
The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) supports all the services of the European Union, whose main task is to protect forests from fires, with the mapping of fires, obtained from the interpretation of satellite images and provides reliable and updated information on fires in all EU institutions, including the European Parliament. The geographical area concerned is not only the European one, but it is extended to the Mediterranean countries (North Africa, Middle East, Turkey).

The main activities are:

  • Software development to automate tasks using ArcGis, IDL, ERDAS, Python
  • Automatic processing of MODIS land / water satellite images (unsupervised supervised classifications, vegetation indices, gravity indices, principal component analysis, change detection analysis)
  • Satellite photo-interpretation in video MODIS land / water and auxiliary data
  • Automatic processing and spatial analysis of vector and raster data (burned areas database and their evolution, administrative data, Natura 2000 database, database related to thermal anomalies detected by the MODIS earth / water satellite, indexes, derived from meteorological data, to risk forecasting of fire)
  • Continuous updates of the website dedicated to the production of daily, weekly reports on the statistics on the burnt areas, the estimate of the damage and the areas at potential risk.

from an operational point of view, as a first step, the quality and consistency of the input data are checked through specific Python scripts, this validation process consists in establishing that all the data relating to the fire have been provided correctly.

It is therefore necessary to establish:

  • The date of the fire
  • The size of the fire
  • The location of the fire
  • That the indication of the date in the file corresponds to the year indicated therein
  • That the start time of the fire is earlier than the time of intervention and extinction of the danger
  • The duration of the fire, which must be reasonable based on its size
  • That the name of the fire place has been reported correctly
  • That there is consistency between the name code and the NUTS code
  • The use of the correct / updated code
  • The possibility of being able to find missing data by cross-comparing existing data
  • The accuracy of the position coordinate references, (North / East)
  • Correct assignment of the category of the place of interest of the danger (forest / non-forest etc.)
  • The cause of the fire
  • The consistency and accuracy of the mapping, the cause code, the country and its EU code

Then it is checked that all the required fields are populated with values ​​consistent with the domain of the related tables and that there is consistency between the geographical information and the description provided.

A database of statistics and historical data of the burnt areas has been prepared, included in the bulletin:

  • Number of forest fires in five southern Member States (1980-2011)
  • Burnt area (hectares) in five southern Member States (1980 – 2011)
  • Number of forest fires in other European countries (1990-2011)
  • Burnt area (hectares) in other European countries (1990 – 2011)

The European Fire Database is an important component of EFFIS and contains information on forest fires compiled by EU Member States and other EFFIS Network Member States.

The guidelines for a database on forest fires were established on the basis of Regulation (EEC) No. 2158/92 (now expired), which established an information system on forest fires, the “Common Core Database”, the latter collected information on fires and their causes to improve understanding.
The Common Core Database covered six EU Member States: Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Regulation 2158/92 was renewed for five years in 1997 and expired on 31 December 2002.

The data on forest fires provided each year by individual EU states and additional data from other European countries have been checked, archived and managed by the JRC within EFFIS.
The database is now known as the “European Fire Database”, is managed with ArcGIS Desktop and contains four types of information such as the time, location, size and cause of the fire.
A standard layout has been defined in ArcGIS Desktop for maps and their symbology:

  • Dynamic transformation of geographical reference systems
  • Dynamic attribute themes to produce thematic maps for different information
  • Dynamic representation for different scales
  • Classification of tele-detected images to emphasize the areas affected by the fire

Many of the procedures for producing statistics were carried out using ArcGIS Model Builder which allows you to produce the data analysis for each EU country examined.
Model Builder was chosen for the ability to create schematic procedures using geoprocessing tools, producing new levels or classifying existing ones.

A combination of geoprocessing tools is set up according to a user-defined analysis scheme, which simultaneously provides data analysis and classification of some parameters, including the type of vegetation, time of the event, affected area, etc.

The JRC’s FORESTMOD activities contribute to the integration of GIS and EO-based models for better communication and information sharing.
In Europe, many of the natural and semi-natural habitats are highly fragmented and at risk of further fragmentation, the expansion of infrastructure and intensive agriculture are considered the greatest threat to biodiversity, forests and biodiversity are strongly interconnected.

On the one hand, biodiversity depends on the integrity, health and vitality of wooded areas, on the other hand, a decrease in forest biodiversity would lead to losses in the productivity and sustainability of the forest, therefore, forest management is oriented towards improving the levels of biodiversity through the provision of forest goods and services, including:

  • Wood and non-wood products: eg. biomass-based energy
  • Climate regulation
  • Pollution control
  • Soil protection and formation: eg. erosion control
  • Nutrient cycle
  • Protection of biodiversity
  • Water regulation and supply
  • Recreation
  • Regulation of perturbations

Current activities on the analysis of forest ecosystem services include:

  • Biophysical mapping and evaluation of forest ecosystem services – stocks and basic flows
  • Changes in the provision of forest ecosystem services resulting from forest dynamics, policy and management options, climate change and forest disturbances
  • Economic evaluation of forest ecosystem services: current status and future (political) scenarios
  • Environmental and economic accounting

Forest modeling

An organized and functional structure provides some specific solutions, firstly there is the implementation of the Carbon Budget Model (CBM-CFS, used to estimate forest carbon dynamics and biomass availability in EU countries, secondly, the CBM-CFS model is linked to other JRC-based models (LUMP, POLES), in order to develop an integrated modeling framework capable of predicting the CO2 emissions of LULUCF in Europe in different policy scenarios.

The project allows users to retrieve general information such as maps of the number of fires, burnt area and average fire size for a selected year and for the countries for which the data is available, these can be viewed by country, NUTS1, NUTS2 or NUTS3 and can be filtered to exclude fires below a certain size, while an interactive graphical function allows the user to view the same fire statistics over time.
Finally, scripts are used to check the geometric consistency (spike, undershoot, overshoot), topological (overlap) and the population of the attribute tables.
Before loading into the database datasets the forest fires and the correspondence of these with the areas taken from the images are checked.


Joint Research Centre ISPRA - EU COMMISSION

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