Cross-Forest, a project for harmonisation and promotion of open forest data

Fecha de la noticia: 22-07-2021

Logo Cross-Forest

The Cross-Forest project combines two areas of great interest to Europe, as set out in the Green Deal. On the one hand, the care and protection of the environment - in particular our forests-. On the other hand, the promotion of an interoperable European digital ecosystem.

The project started in 2018 and ended on 23 June, resulting in different tools and resources, as we will see below.

What is Cross-Forest?

Cross-Forest is a project co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme, which seeks to publish and combine open and linked datasets of forest inventories and forest maps, in order to promote models that facilitate forest management and protection.

The project has been carried out by a consortium formed by the Tragsa Public Group, the University of Valladolid and Scayle Supercomputacion of Castilla y León, with the institutional support of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO, in Spanish acronyms). On the Portuguese side, the Direção-Geral do Território of Portugal has participated.

The project has developed:

  • A Digital Services Infrastructure (DSI) for open forest data, oriented towards modelling forest evolution at country level, as well as predicting forest fire behaviour and spread. Data on fuel materials, forest maps and spread models have been used. High Performance Computing (HPC) resources have been used for their execution, due to the complexity of the models and the need for numerous simulations.
  • An ontological model of forest data common to public administrations and academic institutions in Portugal and Spain, for the publication of linked open data. Specifically, a set of eleven ontologies has been created. These ontologies, which are aligned with the INSPIRE Directive, interrelate with each other and are enriched by linking to external ontologies. Although they have been created with a focus on these two countries, the idea is that any other territory can use them to publish their forest data, in an open and standard format.

The different datasets used in the project are published separately, so that users can use the ones they want. All the data, which are published under CC BY 4.0 licence, can be accessed through this Cross-Forest Github repository and the IEPNB Data Catalogue.

4 flagship projects in Linked Open Data format

Thanks to Cross-Forest, a large part of the information of 4 flagship projects of the General Directorate of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has been published in linked open data format:

  • National Forest Inventory (IFN-3). It includes more than 100 indicators of the state and evolution of the forests. These indicators range from their surface area or the tree and shrub species that inhabit them, to data related to regeneration and biodiversity. It also incorporates the value in monetary terms of the environmental, recreational and productive aspects of forest systems, among other aspects. It has more than 90,000 plots. Two databases corresponding to a subset of the NFI indicators have been published openly.
  • Forest Map of Spain (Scale 1:50.000). It consists of the mapping of the situation of forest stands, following a conceptual model of hierarchical land uses.
  • National Soil Erosion Inventory (INES). This is a study that detects, quantifies and cartographically reflects the main erosion processes affecting the Spanish territory, both forest and agricultural. Its objective is to know its evolution over time thanks to continuous data collection and it has more than 20,000 plots.
  • General Forest Fire Statistics. It includes the information collected in the Fire Reports that are completed by the Autonomous Communities for each of the forest fires that take place in Spain.

These datasets, along with others from this Ministry, have been federated with, so that they are also available through our data catalogue. Like any other dataset that is published on, they will automatically be federated with the European portal as well.

The predecessor of this project was CrossNature. This project resulted in the Eidos database, which includes linked data on wild species of fauna and flora in Spain and Portugal. It is also available on and is reflected in the European portal.

Both projects are an example of innovation and collaboration between countries, with the aim of achieving more harmonised and interoperable data, facilitating to compare indicators and improve actions, in this case, in the field of forest protection.