Forestry is a strategic industry in Sweden. Satellite optical imagery is used by the Swedish Forest Agency (SFA) to create clear cut maps to manage the forests in Sweden. Information on the forests is essential for the SFA to be able to both detect and control illegal activities and to educate the forest owners (who hold 50% of the forests in the country) in best management practices. This Swedish model has positive impacts on timber industry and wild life preservation.
Information on the forests is essential for the SFA to be able to both detect and control illegal activities and to educate the forest owners in best management practises. As Hannele found in the imagined story above, whilst current forest owners can reap the benefits of their land, they have a responsibility to manage it correctly; both for their next generation but also for the Swedish State. Since 2000, information coming from satellite imagery has allowed the detection of illegal cutting (now quite rare) and of poor management practise (lack of immediate re-planting and lack of pre-commercial thinning).
Through the use of clear-cut maps, ie maps showing where forest has been cleared for harvest, the SFA can check whether this clearing was allowed under law and can take action where appropriate. But most importantly, the forest owners know that the SFA can monitor their land which has improved compliance with the law. As a consequence of the availability of the imagery, the area of forest cleared “illegally” has fallen from around 10% of harvested forest each year (in 1998) to less than 0.5% (according to a 2003 study carried out internally by the SFA).
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