Experts discussed in the field about opportunities of linking National Forest Inventories (NFI) to Forest Management Planning (FMP) and on how to improve and optimize the combination of remote sensing data and field data from national forest inventories.  Photo: Luke.

SNS-EFINORD Co-operation group for Forest Inventory, Management Planning and Modelling met in Mariehamn, Åland to reflect the future opportunities of National Forest Inventories (NFI) to provide better information on forest resources


Mariehamn, Åland, 2-3.9.2015

Better knowledge and information on forest resources and their potential for future use helps to predict the developments of forest ecosystem goods and services and thus can serve a broad range of affected stakeholders and create new opportunities for bioeconomy. There is a clear need for relevant, harmonised, comprehensive and reliable data from forest inventories in order to achieve balanced decision-making in forest-related policies.

Experts from the Nordic and Baltic countries, Germany and Russia gathered in Mariehamn, Åland at the beginning of September to discuss the opportunities of linking National Forest Inventories (NFI) to Forest Management Planning (FMP) and on how to improve and optimize the combination of remote sensing data and field data from national forest inventories.

During the SNS-EFINORD Co-operation group for Forest Inventory, Management Planning and Modelling meeting experiences were also shared on how advanced statistical methods could help in the future to gather information on the status and dynamics of forest resources, and on how to improve data and information availability to end-users.

Field and remote-sensing methods both needed

The experiences from participating countries showed clearly that sampling based NFI’s are necessary to obtain reliable, timely and relevant data on forests. In some countries, the coverage and timeliness of FMP data is good, but also in these cases the comparisons between sampling bases statistical data and more subjective FMP data show some remarkable differences for base line forest data, such as volume of growing stock.

The recent research in several participating countries shows that ground-based sampling data collected in National Forest Inventories combined with remote sensing data, such as satellite images, aerial photographs and lidar data, has a lot of potential on providing important complementary information on the current status of forest resources. This also supports estimating the dynamics in forests and forest landscapes with special focus on climate change, land-use and land use changes and forestry, biodiversity and their effects on wood supply.

During the meeting it was made clear that new targets for follow-up and very challenging reporting requirements for displaying annual forest ecosystem changes have created a demand for new statistical mathematical methods that would allow the combination of different data sources (e.g. remote sensing data and field data from multisource national forest inventories).

Project funding application initiated

Sharing experiences from participating countries clearly indicates that Northern countries could benefit from a close cooperation in developing data collection systems and at the same time act as an example for other EU countries in production of harmonised forest resource information. For this purpose, research groups from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden decided to apply funding from the Centre of Advanced Research for the innovative use of 3D remote sensing in mapping of forest and landscape attributes based on national forest inventories.

The event was organised by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and financed by SNS-EFINORDand the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MMM). The next biennial meeting of the SNS-EFINORD Co-operation group for Forest Inventory, Management Planning and Modelling will be organised in Latvia in 2017. 

Authors: Kari T. Korhonen and Markus Lier, Luke

See the programme and presentations here.