Leicestershire, UK – One of England’s original Community Forest projects is using Bluesky’s National Tree Map to monitor progress and engage with stakeholders and the local community. The largest environmental regeneration project in Bedfordshire, the Forest of Marston Vale (The Forest) is one of the 12 Community Forests designated in the 1990s.
Designed to regenerate landscapes around towns and cities scarred by industrialisation, The Forest was created to address the effects of the brick making industry – active in the area between Bedford and Milton Keynes for more than 100 years. From a starting point of around 3 percent woodland cover in 1991, The Forest has a target of 30 percent cover by 2031 across the 61 square mile area.
“By transforming the landscape using trees and woodlands, we can transform the perceptions of a once-degraded area which has a direct impact on transforming prospects for the people who live, work and visit here. So it’s about much more than just the trees; it’s about regeneration. However, trees are at the heart of what we do – without planting millions of trees we won’t create a forest – so we need to be able to measure and monitor our progress,” commented James Russell, Forest Director of The Forest of Marston Vale.
Prior to the acquisition of the Bluesky National Tree Map data, which identifies the location, height and canopy cover of more than 280 million trees across Britain, The Forest relied on its own records and data from the Forestry Commission.
“While our own data and Forestry Commission data had their merits, neither was as accurate, comprehensive or as up to date as the Bluesky tree map,” continued James. “The use of the Bluesky data not only gives us critical data to assess our progress, but it also allows us to evaluate and quantify the benefits of this increased ‘forest cover’ to the local community.”
The Bluesky tree data was used by The Forest as part of a recent Progress and Impacts Study. As a result, it was concluded that tree cover had already increased to 15 percent, half of the overall target, with woodland cover up to 11 percent. Based on this ‘forest cover’ data, the study was then able to evidence that every £1 spent in creating The Forest to date had returned £11 in benefits to the area through improvements in employment, health and wellbeing, air quality, recreation, enhanced landscape, property values and, in due course, timber supply.
Moving forward, The Forest plans to use the Bluesky data to help prioritise future planting and to engage with local communities. It is hoped the data, when broken down Parish by Parish, will encourage local action by communities and be used to put trees and woodlands at the heart of Neighbourhood Plans.
Laura Eddy – Marketing Co-ordinator Robert Peel – Editorial Contact
Bluesky International Marketing Edge
Tel: +44 (0) 1530 518518 Tel: +44 (0) 1666 823306
The Bluesky National Tree Map has been created using innovative algorithms and image processing techniques in combination with the most up to date and detailed aerial photography and height data in the UK. A team of experienced professionals then completed an exhaustive QA process to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data. In addition to the three vector map layers; Crown Polygons, Idealised Crowns and Height Points, the Bluesky National Tree Map also includes an attribute table including unique identification for each crown feature, height attributes and area calculations. The data is available in a range of GIS ready formats with flexible annual licencing.
Applications of the Bluesky National Tree Map include subsidence risk assessment by insurance companies, propagation modelling for telecommunication infrastructure planning, network resilience assessment for utility companies and carbon reduction planning for environmental mitigation projects. Existing users of the data are already reporting significant improvements in day to day planning and operational efficiency achieved through the use of Bluesky National Tree Map data.
Bluesky National Tree Map is currently available for England and Wales with work already underway to create coverage for Scotland.
Bluesky is a specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data, using the very latest survey technology, including two UltraCam Eagles and a Teledyne Optech Galaxy LiDAR system integrated with a PhaseOne camera and thermal sensor. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.
Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an ongoing three-year update programme. By purchasing a world first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data, Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions.
Bluesky is leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications, including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com