Almost a third of Switzerland is covered with forests. These forests are exposed to severe climatic changes. For example, the atmosphere near the ground warmed up by around 2.1°C in the last 170 years - almost twice as much as the rise in mean global temperature. This puts increased pressure on forest ecosystems, resulting in a change of tree species compositions, more risk in general and more risk of biotic and abiotic damage, especially. To develop adaptation and coping strategies and to provide stakeholders and decisionmakers the necessary information, a continuous and objective forest monitoring approach is essential.
In the frame of the SILVA project - Satellite-based Inspection of Large Vegetated Areas - a satellite-based observation system that provides continuous and comprehensive information on the current forest conditions in Switzerland is developed together with ETHZ and WSL. The main objective of SILVA is to detect forest disturbances in near real-time with daily updates in a high spatial resolution of 20 m for the entire area of Switzerland and its surroundings.