Current issue: 54(2)
Climate change has been estimated to increase the risk of storm damage in forests in Finland. There is a growing need for methods to obtain information on the extent and severity of storm damage after a storm occurrence. The first objective of this study was to test whether digital photographs taken from aircrafts flying at low-altitude can be utilized in locating storm-damaged areas and estimating the need for harvesting of wind-thrown trees. The second objective was to test the performance of selected estimators. Depending on distances between flight lines, plots on lines and the used estimator, the relative standard errors of storm area estimates varied between 7.7 and 48.7%. For the area for harvesting and volume of wind-thrown trees, the relative standard errors of estimates varied between 16.8 and 167.3%. Using forest area information from Multisource National Forest Inventory data improved the accuracy of the estimates. However, performance of a simple random sampling estimator and ratio estimator were quite similar. Lindeberg’s method for variance estimation based on adjacent lines was sensitive to line directions in relation to possible trends in storm-damaged area locations. Our results showed that the tested method could be used in estimating storm-damaged area provided that the network of flight lines and photographs on lines are sufficiently dense. The developed model for simulations can be utilized also with forthcoming storms as model’s parameters can be freely adjusted to meet, e.g., the intensity and extent of the storm.