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Conference summarizing the LIFE+ ForBioSensing project - report

On March 29, 2022, a Scientific Conference summarizing the LIFE+ ForBioSensing PL project was held. Comprehensive monitoring of stand dynamics in Białowieża Forest supported with remote sensing techniques. The event was carried out online. The subject of the conference was devoted to the results of the project, the aim of which was to create the possibility of quick and harmless observation of a large and very diverse forest, which is the Białowieża Forest.
The methods used so far have used labor-intensive and time-consuming measurements of the forest in the field. The project combined information about the Białowieża Forest collected from the plane and satellite with data collected from the earth's surface. Thanks to the developed method of observing the Białowieża Forest, it has become possible to observe it in a quick and non-invasive manner. In 2015-2019, precise data was obtained that shows what is and how is changing the most valuable forest in Europe, similar to those that existed before the presence of humans on Earth.
The conference was opened by the LIFE + ForBioSensing Project Manager, Assoc. Prof. Krzysztof Stereńczak, who welcomed the invited guests and emphasized the importance of the ForBioSensing Project in the context of monitoring and management of the Białowieża Forest.
Among the speakers were Polish specialists and experts dealing with many years of research on the Białowieża Forest (Prof. Stanisław Miścicki from the Faculty of Forestry of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Prof. Jan Matuszkiewicz from the S. Leszczycki Institute of Geography and Spatial Management. PAN Warsaw. The honorary guest of the event was also: Prof. Andrzej M. Jagodziński (Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kórnik, University of Life Sciences in Poznań), who discussed the species composition of European stands in the face of climate change.
The second group of Speakers were members of the LIFE+ ForBioSensing Project team who presented the methodology and a wide range of results of activities carried out under the 6-year Project.
Topics raised by prof. Rafał Paluch, focused on the history of the Białowieża Forest stands: the oldest historical records of the area, memories of the area with a special purpose - hunting and hunting with the protection of the European bison, as well as anthropogenic activities during the reign of Polish kings.
The presentation by Dr. Eng. Ewa Zin from ZLN IBL in Białowieża, on the dendrochronological analyzes performedin the ForBioSensing project. The aim of the presented activities was a dendrochronological reconstruction of the development history and long-term dynamics of selected stands, as well as obtaining a model chronology of the ring width and indicator years of the main tree species in the Białowieża Primeval Forest. The author emphasized that the species composition of the stands of the Białowieża Primeval Forest is dynamic, and the main changes in the last 100 years are as follows: a decrease in the share of light-requiring species, an increase in the share of shade-bearing species, the dynamics of spruce and hornbeam expansion are the most visible.
A specialist in stand measurements and analyzes, Łukasz Kuberski (ZLN in Białowieża), presented the scope of field activities performed in order to monitor the dynamics of the stands of the Białowieża Primeval Forest. He also discussed the condition and dynamics of dead wood abundance in the Białowieża Forest in 2015–2019. He confirmed that dead wood of all forest-forming species growing in the Polish part of the Białowieża Forest (spruce wood dominated) was found on the monitoring plots. Then prof. Dorota Dobrowolska (Forest Research Institute), who presented methods of detection and measurement of gaps in the stands of the Białowieża Forest.
Later in the conference, Dr. Aneta Modzelewska discussed the current species composition of the forest stands, which was determined through the use of hyperspectral data. The author of the speech emphasized that determining the species composition with the use of hyperspectral data is possible for a large and diverse area. The species composition of the Białowieża Primeval Forest changed in the years 2015-2019 in the form of a significant decrease in the share of spruce. At the same time, she added that the situation of the remaining analyzed tree species is stable. Then, Dr. Agnieszka Kamińska presented the dynamics of the spruce dieback process and discussed the topic of tree dieback as a result of the spruce bark beetle gradation (gradation scale, temporal dynamics, spatial dynamics, gradation determinants). The conducted analyzes showed that the more open, older (from about 100 years) spruce stands were most prone to dieback in the initial phase of gradation.
The project manager, Assoc. Prof. Krzysztof Stereńczak. He shared his knowledge in the field of the use of remote sensing data (assistance in sustainable forest management and active forest protection, enabling the prediction of changes). At the same time, he emphasized the importance of the activities and the need for their continuous nature.
In the presentation on the dissemination, promotion and replication of the results of the ForBioSensing project, nearly 80 practical ways of using the data obtained in the project were discussed. Dr. Eng. Damian Korzybski, Deputy Project Manager, mentioned among the applications of the project's products: fire risk monitoring, PUL auxiliary material, informing the public about the condition of the forest, managing animal populations, managing a UNESCO World Heritage site). The author of the presentation presented the latest results of the public opinion poll concerning the Białowieża Forest and presented information services created as part of the project, ie Meteoportal with current indications of weather parameters in the Forest and Geoportal presenting the results of the project in the spatial dimension.
Wirginia Duranowska M.A., a promotion specialist, indicated the forms of promotion and information transfer strategies used during the implementation of the project. Thanks to the use of individual (direct) communication, participation in seminars, conferences, and exhibitions, ForBioSensing reached nearly 15,000 recipients from Poland and other countries. The planned, active and constant use of indirect communication tools resulted in the fact that within 6 years the information about the project reached a documented number, almost 5 million recipients!
After the presentation of all the Speakers, a discussion took place in which the conference participants congratulated the entire team on the implementation of necessary and valuable activities in the area of ​​the Polish part of the Białowieża Primeval Forest. They indicated the need to continue them in the future.
Project Manager of LIFE + ForBioSensing, Assoc. Prof. Krzysztof Stereńczak, thanked all participants for coming and stressed that the culmination of the team's activities will be a scientific monograph entitled The current state of the Białowieża Forest based on the results of the LIFE+ ForBioSensing project ”. It is in the composition phase, and after its release, it will be sent out to the conference participants.
The conference is held under the honorary patronage of the Representation of the European Commission in Poland. The video report from the event and the presentations will be made available on the project website: www.forbiosensing.com 
text. W. Duranowska, D. Korzybski
photo: ForBioSensing