What are Marteloscopes?

Marteloscopes have been developed in France so the name derives from the French word “martelage” which means tree selection and the Greek word “skopein” meaning to watch. A Marteloscope is a permanent plot within the forest in which tree measurements and associated software are linked to provide a framework for in-forest training in selection and marking.

It consists of a 1-hectare rectangular plot divided in 16 subplots of 25×25 m (numbered from 1 to 16) in which, at least, the species, height and diameter at breast height of every tree are measured and recorded. Based on these measures, its basal area and volume are calculated.

Each subplot is marked with wooden or metal stakes on the floor. The location of each of the trees is mapped and each tree is labelled with an identifying number.

Figure 1: M-Scope tree map.  Source: A. Schuck, F. Krumm, D. Kraus, H. Schmitt (2015): Integrate+ Marteloscopes – Calibrating silvicultural decision making. Technical Report.

It’s an open space for silvicultural debate between students, foresters and people interested on forest management. On this space it is possible to exercise tree marking, cubage and product classification or ecological value.

The marteloscope provides insights into silviculture required for managers and policy makers not directly involved in stand manipulation. The Smartelo software allows for the demonstration of the practical use of mensuration data within the marking process and this can be applied across arange of sophistication. It also allows for a degree of assessment as to the skills demonstrated by the trainees.

Marking exercises and training sessions promote forestry education, life-long learning and continuing professional development. Thus, forestry students can improve their knowledge and forestry staff can reconfirm skills inregular sessions.

Text from: Bravo, F., Olivar, J.,Ordóñez, C., Reque, J., Sierra de Grado, R. (2018): BioEcoNet MARTELOSCOPES GUIDELINES

Why are they useful?

Marteloscopes are useful for forestry-related educational programs and training purposes. A Marteloscope is a place where students, forest professionals, scientists and conservationists can discuss and sample different management scenarios for the Marteloscope. Trade-offs between ecological and economic criteria imposed on management treatments can be simulated and visualized using software such as  SMARTELO (Fig. 2) or I+ (Fig. 3).

Figure 2: SMARTELO Software. Complementary functions and outputs. Source: D. R. de Prado, F.  B. Oviedo, C. O.  Alonso, C. del Peso Taranco (2015): Smartelo, a tool for managing marteloscopes data training.
Figure 3: I+ Software. The I+ Trainer used on a tablet at a marteloscope. Source: https://informar.eu/i-software (2018): I+ Trainer.

For example, biodiversity conservation can be integrated into management applications through criteria-based selection of individual trees, groups of trees or habitats for retention. Clicking on a desired tree presents the economic and ecological value in terms of euros and habitat value points. Through such exercise’s users gain a better understanding of how to mitigate ecological degradation and balance market demands for wood-based products with sustainable forestry goals (Fig. 4).

Figure 4: Forest marking in multifunctional forests.Source: D. R. de Prado (2016): Smartelo: an open access application tocalculate, manage and visualize data in marteloscopes.

How are they useful for teaching?

Marteloscopes can be considered outdoor classrooms where students can analyse biometric and environmental parameters of the stand and simulate management prescriptions via a mobile device, while maintaining a tangible connection to the living forest. This provides an appealing didactical tool supplementing both field- and classroom-based learning which is not limited by geography or weather conditions. The plethora of possible outcomes resulting from simulated management applications facilitates critical thinking and opportunities for discussion.  

Figure 5: Discussing which tree to select as habitat tree and which to select for harvesting. Source: Photo made by A. Schuck.  A. Schuck, A. Held, D. Kraus, F. Krumm, V. Quadt, H.Schmitt (2016): Integrate+ training, excursions and exchanges – summary sheets.Integrate+ Technical paper No. 19.

Learning with marteloscopes can be further enhanced using virtual forest tours. A virtual forest tour is a 360° * 180° panoramic picture consisting of 40 to 75 individual frames. A student can get an impression of a marteloscope before visiting the site, or even investigate and compare distant marteloscope sites. Virtual forest tours can contain educational videos or supplemental information such as pictures of microhabitats or forest plants, soil characteristics, etc.  

What are they used for elsewhere in Forest Science?

Using permanent forest plots in forest science is not new. The advantage of marteloscopes lies in their guidelines for standardization, for example the standard one-hectareplot size, which enables replication necessary for comparisons within and between different bio geoclimatic regions.  This makes marteloscopes useful for addressing a broad spectrum of research questions in forest science. For example, marteloscopes have featured in publications regarding nature conservation in a managed forest (Kraus et al.2016), preservation of forest microhabitats (Kraus et al. 2016), and even sociological aspects of manual tree selection (Pommereninget al. 2015).