Community Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 167–177 | Cite as

A novel forest state assessment methodology to support conservation and forest management planning

  • T. StandovárEmail author
  • F. Szmorad
  • B. Kovács
  • K. Kelemen
  • M. Plattner
  • T. Roth
  • Zs Pataki
Open Access


A new forest state assessment methodology to complement existing conservation and forestry data has been developed. The aim is to provide tools for strategic planning including spatial distribution of conservation priorities. The method is point-based using a dense systematic sampling grid and provides more detailed information than vegetation maps or forest subcompartment descriptions, but requires less effort than forest inventories. Indicators include canopy composition and structure, deadwood, herbs, microhabitats, disturbances, shrubs and regeneration. The results can inform managers about the structural and compositional diversity of forest stands in the form of thematic maps and can provide the basis for analysis of habitat suitability for forest-dwelling organisms. A smartphone application has been developed to enable electronic data collection. PostGIS and Python scripts were used in the data flow. In this paper, we outline the development of the assessment protocol, and present the sampling design and the variables recorded. The main advantages of the survey methodology are also shown by case-studies based on data collected during the first field season in 2014. The protocol has been designed for low mountain forests in Hungary, but it can be modified to fit other forest types.


Android data collection app Forest naturalness Forest structure Microhabitats Natura 2000 PostGIS Thematic mapping 



Coarse Woody Debris


Diameter at Breast Height


Diameter Class Diversity


ForestDataCollect App.


Fine Woody Debris


National Forestry Database

Supplementary material

42974_2016_1702167_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.9 mb)
Detailed protocol of the multi-purpose forest state assessment


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2016

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited, you give a link to the Creative Commons License, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Standovár
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Szmorad
    • 1
  • B. Kovács
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. Kelemen
    • 1
  • M. Plattner
    • 3
  • T. Roth
    • 3
  • Zs Pataki
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant Systematics, Ecology and Theoretical Biology, Institute of BiologyL. Eötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Institute of Ecology and BotanyVácrátótHungary
  3. 3.Hintermann und Weber AGReinachSwitzerland
  4. 4.Tájinformatika GPVácHungary

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