Methodology for forest loss assessment using GIS technologies


  • Stanislav Horelyk National Aerospace University "Kharkiv Aviation Institute", Chkalova St., 17, 61070, Kharkiv, Ukraine
  • Denys Saul-Hoze National Aerospace University "Kharkiv Aviation Institute", Chkalova St., 17, 61070, Kharkiv, Ukraine
  • Roman Sych National Aerospace University "Kharkiv Aviation Institute", Chkalova St., 17, 61070, Kharkiv, Ukraine



Forest cutting, NDVI index, GIS technologies, Sentinel-2, orthophotomap, interpretation, ArcGIS


One of the environmental problems in Ukraine is the illegal use of forest resources, specifically unauthorized forest logging. According to the State Forest Resources Agency, the volumes of forest violations reach tens, and sometimes thousands, of cubic meters of timber per year. Therefore, an important task is to accurately determine the areas of illegal logging. There are many methods for identifying this violation, which can be divided into two main groups: contact and remote sensing methods. Contact methods allow for on-site determination of the fact of illegal forest logging, but they require significant material and time costs. Among the available contact data, it is worth mentioning the open Register of permits for timber harvesting and the "Public Cadastral Map" geospatial portal, which allows for determining the legality of logging activities. Remote sensing data enable the localization of deforestation areas and the determination of their geometric characteristics with minimal time and material costs, but they have a number of drawbacks associated with weather conditions and the ambiguous interpretation of satellite-based research methods. Combining contact and remote sensing data with subsequent analysis is advisable using geoinformation systems and technologies. Geoinformation technologies allow for the rapid processing of large volumes of contact and remote sensing data, the creation of cartographic models for their further analysis and interpretation. Therefore, the comprehensive use of contact and remote sensing research methods will enable the prompt identification of deforested areas, determination of their geometric characteristics, and their legality. The developed methodology for identifying forest logging using GIS technologies involves the comprehensive use of open data from public portals on the availability of logging permits, satellite images from the Sentinel-2 satellite, and ArcGIS software with spatial analysis tools from ArcToolbox. The practical implementation of the developed methodology was carried out for the entire Kharkiv region. A total of 3,299 instances of logging were identified, of which 1,977 were carried out between 2008 and 2021. During the same period, 648 instances of logging without permits were determined.


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