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Marcus Wallenberg Prize Awarded to Professor Erik Næsset

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Professor Erik Næsset, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, is awarded the 2011 Marcus Wallenberg Prize for his path-breaking research that incorporates the airborne laser scanning method as an integral part of forest inventory. The Prize will be presented by His Majesty, The King of Sweden, at a ceremony in Stockholm on October 3. On October 4, a symposium will be arranged around the subject of the prize-winning research and its impact on the forest and land use issues as well as the forest products industries.

Professor Næsset created a tool to portray spatially the forest inventory parameters of interest. He invented a straightforward and practical method for utilizing airborne laser scanning in combination with forest field data that automatically produces stand-wise forest data with high accuracy The area based method of airborne laser scanning that he developed has become a reference against which new inventory methods are compared.

Laser scanning is now a commercially used practice, making a considerable difference in how forests are inventoried throughout the world. Cost reductions of typically 40% - 50% for forest management inventories have been recorded. Of great significance is the value of the statistical and economic efficiency improvements in forest management inventories. The airborne laser scanning technique is also useful in assessment of many other forest ecosystem services. For example, it has been used in carbon accounting based on estimated forest biomass and detection and valuation of habitats of key species for maintenance of biodiversity.

Along with his scientific achievements, Professor Næsset has actively participated in the demonstration of the airborne laser scanning method to practitioners, offered workshops, and tested the method in diverse case studies. He stands out as the most important person for making airborne laser scanning an operational method for forest inventory.

Professor Næsset (on the right in photo) took his Dr. scient. in Forestry in 1992 at the Agricultural University of Norway. After employment at the Department of Forest Sciences, Agricultural University of Norway, from 1990, he was appointed Professor in 1996. Since 1997 he has been Professor at the Department for Ecology and Natural Resource Management at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway. Among other things, he works in partnership with NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Yale University, University of Minnesota, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Helsinki University, and University of Eastern Finland, and he leads several international projects within his department. He is author or co-author of some 60 scientific articles.


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