EU LIFEPeatLandUse (Metsätalouskäyttöön soveltumattomien ojitettujen soiden jatkokäyttö)

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Objectives, impacts and benefits

Project objectives

The main objective of the project is to quantify and valuate ecosystem services to assist land use planners and policymakers in making ecologically, economically and socio-culturally sustainable land use decisions. This is done by developing and demonstrating a decision support system, where ecological and economical information is aggregated to numerically optimize cost efficient land use options so that benefits from ecosystem services are safeguarded. The monetary value of the land use options is maximized under given constraints set to the biodiversity, environmental loading, and GHG emissions, to fulfill the constraints set in the regional, national, and EU level policies. The system is tested and demonstrated to optimize the re-use for low-productive drained peatlands,  which is the key issue concerning peatland use in Finland. These peatlands, where timber production is not commercially productive without specific maintenance options, cover 20% (ca. 0.8. million ha) of the drained peatland area in Finland. The decision support system provides an innovative, quantitative approach to increase the sustainability and reduce conflicts concerning peatland use, and it is applicable to any land use planning, where ecological, economic and socio-cultural values may be in trade-off.

Detailed objectives:

1) To develop and demonstrate a decision support system to quantify and value ecosystem services and optimize ecologically, economically and socio-culturally sustainable land use.

2) To consolidate and increase the knowledge base on the impacts of peatland use on ecosystem services through the compilation of multiple datasets and state of the art modeling.

3) To enhance general awareness, reduce conflicts, and promote stakeholder co-operation concerning the use of peatlands.

4) To promote the sharing and utilization of long-term monitoring data and scientific information in the land use planning.

Actions and means involved:

1) The decision support system consists of i) data compilation and modeling to quantify and predict the present and future states of ecosystem services in terms of biodiversity, environmental loading, GHG balance, and monetary value (Actions B1-B4), ii) numeric optimization, which maximizes the monetary value of the land use option by using results from the ecosystem service predictions and from the requirements and constraints set to these services in national and international policies (Action B4), iii) a participatory decision support tool, which analyses trade-offs and stakeholder preferences towards the predicted land use impacts on ecosystem services and increases the socio-cultural sustainability of land use (Action B5), and iv) GIS based maps to demonstrate the predicted impacts of peatland re-use options on ecosystem services (Action B6).

2) The present state of ecosystem services are evaluated based on existing data and new data monitored in this project. Future scenarios on the impacts and cost efficiency of seven re-use options; 1) no measures, 2) tree biomass harvesting, 3) intensive forestry, 4) restoration, 5) peat harvesting, 6) peat harvesting and reforestation, 7) peat harvesting and rewetting, on ecosystem services are predicted up to 100 years by using state of the art modelling techniques (Actions B1-B4).

3) Project results are disseminated in domestic and international events and networks. Information is available for professionals, general public, and for domestic and international actors working with land use (Action D1). Stakeholders participate in a regional planning process to promote co-operation and create better opportunities for consensus on sustainable peatland use decisions (Action B5).

4) Scattered data from long-term databases, publications, and new established monitorings are compiled to model the present and future states of ecosystem services and to promote ecologically, economically and socio-culturally sustainable land use (Actions B1-B4).

Expected Results

1) New innovative decision support system that quantifies, values and predicts the state of selected ecosystem services and optimizes their levels to fulfill requirements and constraints set at the regional, national and EU levels, has been produced. The system is a procedure of goal setting, data compilation, assessment of current conditions, predictive modeling, optimization of alternative options, stakeholder participation, analysis of results, and map demonstrations. Due to the quantification and valuation of the ecosystem services, the system assists land use planners and policymakers in making more objective and sustainable decisions. Demonstration of the system has been done through webbased maps to reach all interested parties.

2) Knowledge has been increased concerning the impacts of peatland use on the biodiversity, environmental loading, GHG balance and monetary value of low-productive drained peatlands. These ecosystem services have been quantified for the peatland landscapes selected during the project, the two project subareas and for the whole project area, and their states have been predicted up to 100 years.

3) Awareness and understanding concerning the sustainable use of peatlands have been increased for example by a public website, four press releases, five newsletters, by producing project brochures and posters, and by disseminating project results in several domestic and international events. A participatory decision support tool has been tailored and tested by at least 20 stakeholders in a planning process, where 20 peat harvesting sites have been allocated. The tool has provided better opportunities for consensus among stakeholders.

4) Data from long-term monitorings, publications and newly established monitorings have been aggregated into a database, which can be used to model, predict and optimize the impacts of sustainable peatland use. Project has acted as an example of the sharing of data between research organizations.

More information:

Project web pages also at:

LIFEPeatLandUse seminar 17.11.2017: