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Metla » Research » Research programmes » National Forest Inventory (NFI)

National Forest Inventory (NFI)

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Reliable information on forest resources since 1920

The National Forest Inventory is a monitoring system that produces information concerning national and regional
  • forest resources - volume, growth and quality of growing stock,
  • land use structure and forest ownership,
  • forest health,
  • biodiversity of forests and
  • forest carbon stocks and their changes.

The national forest inventories form an unique time series of the development of forests in Finland: The first NFI in Finland was carried out already in 1920's (NFI1 1921–1924). It was among the first inventories in the world based on statistical sampling. Since then NFIs have been made regularly in 5–10 years cycles. The latest forest statistics are based on the 11th NFI whose field measurements are carried out in 2009–2013.

Forest resource information produced by NFIs are based on extensive field measurements. In first inventories, lines through the country were surveyed but in recent inventories systematic sampling and field plot measurements have been used. The field plots are located in clusters that form a regular network over the whole country.

Based on the field data, reliable forest statistics can be calculated for the whole country and for large areas of over 200 000 hectares, like regional Forestry Centres. In order to provide forest information for smaller areas, e.g. municipalities, an inventory method based on satellite images was developed at the end of the 1980's. The multi-source NFI utilizes several data sources: field measurements, satellite images and digital maps. With this method, forest statistics and thematic maps can be produced for any given area.

The forest statistics and other information produced by the NFI are widely used in
  • Forest policy making at national and international levels
  • Regional and national forest management planning
  • Planning of forest industry investments
  • Assessing sustainability of forestry and in forest certification
  • Evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions and changes in carbon storage
  • Research

Nowadays also many international statistics (e.g. FAO and Eurostat), processes (e.g. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, MCPFE) and agreements (e.g. Kyoto protocol) require information about development of forest resources.


Kari T. Korhonen

  • Project leader: National forest inventory
  • Coordination of the NFI
  • Forest resource results

Erkki Tomppo

  • Project leader: National forest inventory methods
  • Multisource inventory, methodology development and results
  • Multisource inventory data for research purposes

Sakari Tuominen

  • Customer service: forest resource maps, made-to-order inventory calculations

Antti Ihalainen

  • Calculations and results for public administration
  • Field data for research purposes
Updated: 14.06.2013 /JPit  |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated  |  Copyright Metla  |  Feedback