WoodsApp Vitalitätssignal

How the vitality signal from WoodsApp can protect and preserve your forest

How does the vitality signal work?

Help for forest conservation with the vitality signal

What is forest vitality?

The vitality signal is based on data recorded by the Sentinel 2 satellite. Our scientists use chlorophyll reflection and AI to recognise how vital the treetops are. For example, trees stressed by drought show abnormalities in the infrared range of the satellite images, which form the basis of our vitality service. Vitality generally provides information on whether a tree is suffering from drought stress or reduced metabolism activity, for example. More on this in this blogpost.


Only when all the leaves in the forest have sprouted in a given year do we record the data by satellite, calculate the vitality and display it on our digital map in the app. We only start when we are sure that everything has sprouted – in other words, only during the growing season. Throughout Germany, this is the case at the end of May, even in the mountains. Although coniferous wood is also needled in winter, this would distort the map data as there is also snow in winter.


When do we record the data for the vitality signal?

In summer, from around June to September, a satellite from the Sentinel 2 mission flies over every location in Europe every 5 days. It takes a while until the whole of Germany is covered, because sometimes the data recording has to be repeated due to clouds. In summer, we update the vitality map with new information – the vitality signals – every month or so. You can see the exact time of the recording in the app by tapping on one of the pink areas. The calculation is stopped from September of each year, as in autumn a tree without leaves would look like a dying tree.

Current data is combined with historical data

In places where no new data has been collected this year, the data from last year remains visible so as not to leave some spots on the map completely empty. If you click on the polygon, you can see the date when the signal was calculated, as explained above.  We can also use the satellite to see where there is coniferous or deciduous wood in your stand.  We will soon provide a special layer with more information on this. 

Accuracy of the data

Our vitality signal is a good guide to get an overview of which areas are affected by severe loss of vitality. However, errors and confusion can also occur in individual local cases. The accuracy of the signal is influenced by many factors such as cloud cover and other parameters. Our signal is therefore more about guiding people to check the observed locations as an indication of potential risk areas to avoid unnecessary visits to healthy areas. We are constantly improving our algorithms and their accuracy is among the best in Europe

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How to manage your forest sustainably with WoodsApp and the vitality map

The vitality map can be used by forest owners, foresters, service providers or associations to plan forest inspections more efficiently. They can mark on the map in advance where they need to observe and navigate to a selected location. This saves a lot of time. The data also helps with decision-making processes for forestry measures. For example, if you were able to identify drought stress early on with the map, you can cut fresh wood instead of beetle wood and thus save €20-30 per cubic metre.

WoodsApp also offers a german-wide analysis of the forest condition. From June 2024, this will also be available for Austria. This means you can also plan and deal better with neighbouring areas.

WoodsApp also compiles annual data on how many hectares per municipality are affected by loss of vitality.

The most important in a nutshell