North State

Enabling Intelligent Copernicus Services for Carbon and Water Balance Modeling of Northern Forest Ecosystems

EU FP7 project 2013-2016 - Theme Space




Intensive study areas

North State had four sites for intensive studies: Hyytiälä and Sodankylä (Finland), Hallormsstadur (Iceland) and the Pechora-Ilych nature reserve in Komi republic (Russia). Additionally, the model input variables were estimated and models applied over European boreal and sub-arctic region from Ural Mountains to Iceland.

Boreal Forests

Boreal forest is the largest terrestrial biome and will be strongly affected by climate warming, which is predicted to be strongest at high latitudes, with significant impacts on the European economy. North State demonstrated how innovative methods applied to the new Sentinel data streams can be combined with models to monitor carbon and water fluxes for pan-boreal Europe, with intensive study sites in Finland, Iceland and Russia. This will reduce the high uncertainty in current estimates of flux rates.

Key model parameters were derived from Sentinel and other EO data, in situ and ancillary data, including relevant FP7 and ESA CCI projects. Parameter types included forest characteristics such as area and species, tree height, biomass, model drivers such as incoming radiation, and indicators of the dynamic state of the forest, such as Leaf Area Index. Many of these parameters will also be applicable for other purposes, such as operational forest management.

The project responded to the Lund declaration and the recommendations of the Space Advisory Group. It will strengthen European leadership in the provision of EO-based services and will be a paradigm for exploiting opportunities offered by the new generation of EO satellites in developing products for future Copernicus services.

The European Commission provides free, full and open access to a wealth of important environmental data gathered by Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation system.

Copernicus – which includes six dedicated satellite missions, the so-called Sentinels, launched between 2014 and 2021 – will help citizens, businesses, researchers and policy makers to integrate an environmental dimension into all their activities and decision making procedures.


Land cover and biomass (growing stock volume of trees) on the boreal site - SuomiNPP data

Mean Annual Increment and Net Primary Productivity (NPP) on the boreal site - SuomiNPP data

Mean Annual Increment means growth of the stem volume of the trees per hectare within a year. Net Primary Productivity (NPP) is the amount of carbon uptake after subtracting Plant Respiration (RES) from Gross Primary Productivity (GPP). GPP is the total rate at which the ecosystem captures and stores carbon as plant biomass, for a given length of time.