This is a painstaking and complicated process, but the results are worth it.
“We sometimes get impressive results. We have already deciphered 16 of the most forested areas – 35 million hectares or 59% of Ukraine’s territory. These are the northern, western and central parts of the country, for which forest masks have been generated. What have we got? Area of lands covered by tree vegetation (we took into account areas with area of not less than 0,1 ha) exceeds official data of 2010 by about 20%. Depending on the region, the surplus for 2010 ranges from 12% to 28%. And that is +1.5 million ha of area covered by woody vegetation! This difference includes self-seeding forests outside the forest fund, shelterbelts, green areas in human settlements, protective plantations and other categories of woody plantations which were not taken into account in the forest records of 2010”, informed Viktor Smal, Deputy Head of the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine for Digital Development.
In addition to obtaining a map of forests and establishment of their areas, within the framework of the project it will be possible to follow the dynamics of the forest area, to establish the category of tree plantations and, in cooperation with the State Geo Inventory Service, ownership and category of lands where tree plantations are situated.
The results allow determining the actual areas covered with forest vegetation in Ukraine, regardless of their subordination and ownership (including those forest areas, whose owners are not identified).
As a reminder, according to the Lands and Forest Codes of Ukraine, forests can be in state, communal and private ownership. The latest official data, which covers all forests in Ukraine, regardless of forest users, is from 2010. According to this data, 73% of the forests are subordinated to the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine. The remaining 27% are granted for permanent use to enterprises, institutions and organizations of several dozen ministries and departments.
The first practical application area where we begin to use our decryption data is the application process for changing the status of self-forested areas and their transfer to the forest fund of Ukraine.