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Short-range photogrammetry in forestry

The use of remote sensing data in obtaining information about forests has a long, almost 100-year history. Remote sensing satellite and aerial data have a number of applications and in many countries support the management and protection of natural resources on a daily basis. Short-range photogrammetry has long been of interest to foresters, and its significant development in recent years has initiated attempts to implement such solutions into practice.

There are more and more tools on the market for remote imaging (in the form of images or point clouds) of trees and forest stands from the ground. Due to the miniaturization of devices, interest in their practical use is growing. There are a number of scientific publications that point to the potential of using short-range remote sensing data for precise tree measurements. Nevertheless, the main barrier to their use in practice is the lack of highly automated data processing solutions that, on the one hand, provide reliable information about the measured object, and on the other hand, are tailored to the needs of specialists.

Precision forestry in practice

The concept of precision forestry will be applied in order to provide practical solutions for the application of short-range photogrammetry. Precision forestry means solutions related to the detection and characterization of individual trees using remote sensing data. The result of the work of the precision forestry team will be an AI solution that allows the characteristics and quality of standing or lying individual trees to be measured. Individual tree information integrated for any area (e.g. sample plot, forest stand, park) can be used by various stakeholders. The aim of the team’s work will be to transfer the results of basic research to practical use in various fields related to environmental protection and management.

Identification of tree species and measurement of biometric characteristics

The problem of recognizing tree species has been an area of interest since the beginning of the use of remote sensing in the analysis of the forest environment. In this regard, works particularly related to aerial and satellite data acquisition systems have a long history of publication. Aerial imaging allows collection of quite precise information about the upper layer of the forest, without much detail of trees growing in the lower layers. Tree imaging from the ground level allows for precise measurements of even the youngest trees growing in the lower layers of the forest stand.

Specific expectations of practitioners in the context of measuring the characteristics of individual trees concern the measurement of: volume, tree species, diameter at chest height (thickness at 1.3 m), tree height, size class and quality, determined on the basis of defects visible on the trunk, health based on i.a. leaf color and density. The aim of the team’s work will be to develop methods that will allow for practical application and thus replacing a large part of labor-intensive field measurements used in forestry. We will look for solutions that allow easy integration of the results of automatic measurements with existing systems used in forestry or inventory of urban green areas.

Recognition of tree size and quality

The size of the trees and whether there are defects on the side of the trunk affect the economic value of individual trees. However, there may also be various parasites or effects of various biotic and abiotic factors on the sides of the trunks, which in turn tell us about the current or future health status of the trees. Short-range remote sensing provides data that is likely to help visualize various artifacts in trees. The use of artificial intelligence algorithms can further increase the probability of detecting these artifacts. Another goal of the team will be to use artificial intelligence to recognize the size and quality of standing and fallen trees in order to estimate their value.

Research Team Leader

Krzysztof Stereńczak

Prof. Dr hab. Eng. Krzysztof Stereńczak, Professor at the Research Institute of Forestry (IBL), is the Deputy Director of this Institute for Scientific and Research Affairs, heads the Department of Geomatics of the Research Institute of Forestry and the work of the research team dealing with precision forestry at IDEAS NCBR.

On February 2, 2024, by the decision of the President of the Republic of Poland, Habilitated Doctor Engineer Krzysztof Stereńczak was awarded the title of Professor of Agricultural Sciences in the Field of Forestry. He obtained his habilitated doctor degree at the Research Institute of Forestry in 2018, his doctor degree at the Faculty of Forestry of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) in 2011, and his master’s diplomas at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (forestry), the University of Salzburg (UNIGIS) and the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) (Executive MBA). He completed a scientific internship at the University of Freiburg at the turn of the years 2007-2008. Thesis advisor of 3 completed doctoral dissertations, supervisor of 6 postgraduate students. Co-author of 150 scientific papers, participant of over 30 research projects. He is a member of the Committee of Forest Sciences and Wood Technology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), the Polish Forest Society (PTL) and the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS).

His scientific interests focus on such topics as monitoring and inventory of forests using remote sensing data, precise forestry and management. Winner of the Adam Loret Award for scientific work on broadly defined forestry. He received an honorary badge for “Merits for Environmental Protection and Water Management” from the Minister of Climate and Environment.


The project team led by Krzysztof Stereńczak received in 2019 the main Adam Loret Award for scientific work in the project on “Remote sensing determination of wood biomass and carbon resources in forests” (REMBIOFOR).

In 2020, he also received the honorary badge for “Merits for Environmental Protection and Water Management” awarded by the Minister of Climate and Environment.

In 2015 he received the Scholarship of the Minister of Science and Higher Education for outstanding young scientists, as well as Annual Awards of the Director of the Research Institute of Forestry for scientific publications in 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 with the Research Institute of Forestry affiliation.

He also received the “Best Paper Award” in the session of young scientists (Youth Forum), during the XXI ISPRS Congress in Beijing, for the article entitled “LIDAR point cloud based fully automatic 3D single tree modeling in forest and evaluations of the procedure” article co-authored with Y. Wang, B. Koch and H. Weinacker, published in 2008.

On July 5, 2008, in Beijing (China), he received the “Scopus-Perspektywy Young Researcher Award” funded by Elsevier B.V. and the “Perspektywy” Education Foundation – 1st place in the “Environment” category.

In 2012 he was awarded the Second Degree Individual Award by the Rector of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences for scientific achievements.

Krzysztof Stereńczak received the following grants:

“The use of airborne laser scanning data to determine the density of trees in single-storey pine stands” promoter’s grant financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education;

Grant for the LIFE+ ForBioSensing project entitled “Comprehensive monitoring of stand dynamics in Białowieża Forest supported with remote sensing techniques” financed by the European Commission under the Life+ Instrument and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management;

Grant for the project entitled “Remote sensing determination of wood biomass and carbon resources in forests” (REMBIOFOR) co-financed by the National Center for Research and Development (NCBR) under the “Natural Environment, Agriculture and Forestry” (BIOSTRATEG) program;

Funding for the project entitled “Development of the method of equipment inventory of the forest condition using the results of the REMBIOFOR project” financed by the Directorate General of the State Forests in Warsaw.


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