How to set up a Marteloscope?

Around 40 Marteloscopes have been established in 9 countries during the Integrate+ project. New sites are being added. For those interested in setting up such a Marteloscope site the following will provide you basic information on what should be considered.

Selecting an appropriate site for a Marteloscope

When planning to establish an Marteloscope the selection of the site and the corresponding forest stand should be given thorough attention. Take note of the following aspects: (1) forest type, stand characteristics and applied management should be representative for the region, (2) the site should show a clear need for ‘management action’ in order to be suitable for virtual tree selection exercises, (3) the ownership type and future expectations towards the forest stand need to be taken into consideration, (4) the continuity of a Marteloscope needs to be guaranteed for at least 5 - 15 years and (5) the terrain should allow an easy set-up and (6) the Marteloscope should be easily accessible.


The concept of Marteloscopes was originally developed in France. The term is derived from the French word for tree selection (‘martelage’) and the Greek term "skopein" (look), meaning literally “having a closer look” at a tree selection. The concept was first applied in private forests but its potential for field-based training and education for forestry professionals and students was already recognised in the 1990s. The use of the usually 1 hectare sized plots found application not only in France but soon after also in its neighbouring countries, becoming more known also far beyond. The demonstration project Integrate+ considerably contributed to this development in Europe.

Setting up a Marteloscope

Size and form of an Marteloscope

The size of a Marteloscope is generally a one-hectare rectangular plot with side lengths of 100 x 100 m. Its size may be tailored based on geography and local conditions.

Recorded tree parameters

The tree location of each tree above 7.5 cm diameter at breast height (dbh) is recorded. All trees are numbered and the following data assessed: (1) tree species, (2) tree status as dead/alive, (3) forest mensuration data (dbh, tree height and crown base height), (4) timber quality (estimated) and (5) tree related microhabitats using the tree microhabitat catalogue field guide. Measuring equipment may vary based on your preferred/available options.

Required resources

Time and resources you need to set up a Marteloscope will depend on your possibilities. Teams of two are favoured. It is recommended to have experienced personnel available supported by e.g. students or field workers. This way measurements can be done quickly and correctly. The time needed will also depend on the site conditions: “is it in easy terrain”?, “how many trees need to be measured?” etc. A rough estimate is 5 to 10 working days depending on the experience of personnel, number of measuring teams and site conditions.

The Marteloscope is almost ready for use

One to two days are then required to calculate the volumes and timber prices of all trees on the site. A final task is then to prepare the complete dataset for submission to the central Integrate+ Database. Once in the database the Marteloscope data can be loaded to portable devices (tablets). With the help of the I+ Trainer software which needs to be installed on the tablets the Marteloscope site can then be used for field visits or training events.

Want to find out more?

Integrate+ Marteloscopes - Description of parameters and assessment procedures. Integrate+ Technical Paper No. 18.

Questions on Marteloscopes?

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