Assessment of Northern Eurasian Forests (ZAPAS)

The ZAPÁS project is intended to make space-based biomass inventory assessments more reliable for boreal forests of Northern Eurasia.

© Sergey Ponomarev |

© Sergey Ponomarev |


Ecosystem researchers seeking solutions to many of the fundamental problems in ecological sciences face limitations due to the difficulty in obtaining complete and accurate measurements of the Earth’s living biomass. Direct on-ground measurements of the biomass are time consuming, and the satellite-based optical sensing instruments have limited capabilities.

Scientist have had some success using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to do terrain imaging, but available satellite based radars are limited by their short wavelength and other technological shortcomings.

The ZAPÁS project is attempting to overcome the problems with SAR imaging by using hyper-temporal SAR images from the Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT
and the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) to study the Northern Eurasia boreal forests. Hyper-temporal images are taken of the same area over many different time periods, allowing scientists to see changes in the biomass. The satellite data will be analyzed using a methodology initially developed as part of the 2010 BIOMASAR project, which created a new algorithm to interpret satellite images of boreal forests.

IIASA Research                                

IIASA researchers from the Ecosystems Services and Management Program will create ecological models that are region specific and crucial for verification of remote sensing products. The researchers will also determine if the ZAPÁS data will allow them to provide reliable estimates of the full carbon accounting of the forests based on methodologies developed at IIASA.

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Last edited: 20 June 2012


Anatoly Shvidenko

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


01.08.2011 - 31.07.2014

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313