Information on forest resources forms the basis for planning forest bioeconomy measures. Changing needs require research methods of a high international standard.

Natural Resource Institute Finland integrates national forest inventory sample plots and remote sensing to produce forest resource maps and statistics at municipality level. Today, 3D technology  can be used to produce more detailed and increasingly localised information about forest resources. In a Nordic collaboration project,  the Natural Resources Institute Finland will test the technology in national forest inventory (NFI).

Photography: Sakari Tuominen, Luke.

In the future, new technology will also enable the production of more versatile data on factors such as the shape of tree trunks and the number of branches. In addition to data on wood production, the volume and quality of dead wood as well as the health of growing stock are also measured. The measurements are analysed with the help of various computational methods and systems. The Natural Resources Institute Finland is currently working on an online application that will allow anyone to search for information on forest resources with the help of inventory data.

Tools for national and international decision-makers

In addition to the current status of forests, information is also needed on the future development of forests and their commercial potential. The MELA forest management planning system and associated applications can be used to calculate scenarios of the effects of measures such as forest set aside or changes in forest management practises on the regional sustainability of wood production. MELA calculations are used as the basis of various kinds of forest programmes as well as regional forest and land use plans.

International research projects have produced different kinds of models that can be used by EU Member States  to calculate commensurate scenarios for supranational decision-making on the basis of their own national inventory data.

Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke.