Spatial inventory of carbon emissions and sinks in forestry at scales from local to national significantly increases understanding of the carbon cycling and reduces uncertainty of the inventory results. The project focuses on development of advanced methodologies which are based on explicit spatial approaches to analyze emissions/removals within a Full Verified Greenhouse Gas Account of forest ecosystems at multiple scales.

Photo by Joanna Horabik

Photo by Joanna Horabik

GHG (mainly carbon dioxide and methane) emissions and removals in forests considerably vary from one region to another due to different forest characteristics and growing conditions (bioclimatic zones, forest type, species composition, age, land forms, etc). Widely used GHG inventory methods such as those developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and CORINAIR (2009) are very general and are not able to consider many important region specific parameters of interaction of forest with major biogeochemical cycles. The IPCC Guidelines strongly encourage carrying out spatial inventories of emissions and removals in forestry as the best way to achieve reliable results of forest carbon cycling assessment and minimize uncertainty. The project advances the state-of-the-art by developing an integrated forest observing system (called SIFCAS) that is combined with the methodology of the Full Verified Greenhouse Gas Account which has been developing by IIASA's Ecosystem Services and Management Program. Due to fine resolution of the SIFCAS and application of more detailed models and accounting schemes, one could expect substantially more complete and certain results that those provided according to IPCC standard recommendations. 

The main results of the SIFCAS project include an advanced methodology for spatially explicit forest accounting and, as a result, a spatially explicit carbon account for forest ecosystems of Ukraine for 2010, which is delivered in a form of geodatabase. This database includes several layers with different forest ecosystem parameters: tree species distribution, net primary production, and biomass. The background layer is a tree cover mask at a 60m resolution that has been developed by fusing different sources of forest cover information. Special attention has been payed to the development of a map of abandoned agricultural land because those are the territories of potential afforestation, particularly in the Northern part of Ukraine and Poland, and are important for the forest carbon change detection. All the data is going to be of an open access. 

IIASA Research 

The SIFCAS system combines the advantages of spatial analysis of emissions/removals of carbon contained substances in forestry at different spatial levels (from local to national) within the methodology of Full Verified GHG Account of forest ecosystems. The major objective of the study is to develop a reliable and operational tool to support decision making at the local, national and international levels so that decision makers could determine the most effective system of measures to reduce emissions/ increase removals. The system will be applied to forests of Ukraine and Poland. 

The project is financed by Marie Curie individual grant FP7-MC-IIF: SIFCAS project No. 627481.

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Last edited: 29 November 2016


Myroslava Lesiv

Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 358

Anatoly Shvidenko

Emeritus Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 497


01.09.2014 - 31.08.2016


Lesiv, M. , Moltchanova, E., Shchepashchenko, D. , See, L. , Shvidenko, A., Comber, A., & Fritz, S. (2016). Comparison of Data Fusion Methods Using Crowdsourced Data in Creating a Hybrid Forest Cover Map. Remote Sensing 8 (3), e261. 10.3390/rs8030261.

Schepaschenko, D. , Shvidenko, A.Z., Lesiv, M. , Ontikov, P.V., Shchepashchenko, M.V., & Kraxner, F. (2015). Estimation of forest area and its dynamics in Russia based on synthesis of remote sensing products. Contemporary Problems of Ecology 8 (7), 811-817. 10.1134/S1995425515070136.

Lesiv, M. , Shvidenko, A., Schepaschenko, D. , See, L. , & Fritz, S. (2015). Forest map and its uncertainty as an important input for carbon sink estimation for Poland and Ukraine. In: Proceedings, 4th International Workshop on Uncertainty in Atmospheric Emissions, 7-9 October 2015, Krakow, Poland. pp. 9-15 Warsaw, Poland: Systems Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences. ISBN 83-894-7557-X

Lesiv, M. , Shvidenko, A., Schepaschenko, D. , See, L. , & Fritz, S. (2015). Development of a hybrid forest map using Ukraine as a case study. [[Book of Abstracts. International Scientific Conference, Forestry: Bridge to the Future]], 6-9 May 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria pp 71-72 (May 2015)

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