National forest inventories (NFIs) in Serbia have been carried out very rarely (every 20 years), while the last two official estimates of forest areas (for 2011 and 2014) are very imprecise, because they are based on the cadastral data (and Serbia is well known for the lack of cadastre updating). Although forest conservation policymakers in Serbia still have limited financial, human, and political resources, over the past two decades, publicly available, remotely sensed satellite data on deforestation and degradation have dramatically reduced evaluation costs. Since municipalities in Southern Serbia experienced a 15% loss of forest area in the 2006–2014 period, as the obvious result of forceful, rapid process of illegal logging, this study evaluates the possible use of two remote sensing techniques: normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and CORINE land cover (CLC) databases for preventing illegal logging in Serbia. It clearly shows that NDVI is very promising for Serbia and also for other post-socialist countries that very rarely carry out national forest inventories (NFIs), and where unrecorded, illegal logging can exceed the legal harvest by a factor of 10.
Part of the book: Vegetation