Requirement analysis and project plan for the modernization of the MELA forest decision support system







1) Background and objectives
MELA software, a forestry resource projection model, was initially developed in the 1970´s to analyze the regional and national level wood production potentials based on the data collected in the national forest inventory. MELA NFI-results have been applied widely for research projects and decision support analysis for forest, environmental, energy and climate policies at national and international level.
In addition to its current use as a policy support tool and as a decision support system for state and industrial forests in Finland, there is potential in a) improving the integration between MELA and other models (or incorporated methods) in Luke and b) widening the use of MELA and MELA-compatible Luke’s bioeconomic models (or incorporated methods) across sectors and to countries. The most essential revision is needed in the production of decision variables: in addition to new variables reflecting new tree- and ecosystem-based goods and services, uncertainty and risk should be incorporated. In addition, there is a need to re-code the MELA software that origins from 1970s. Computation of decision variables is hard-coded in the software and is difficult to modify as models or data changes. Thus the possibility to respond to new demands is weak.
The objective is to undertake requirement analysis and develop a implementation plan for a MELA system which is transparent and scalable for various kinds of analyses and has user-friendly interface. Modernization is based on combing forest inventory, production of decision variables, computational intelligence and decision theory applications where risk and uncertainty are taken into account.

2) Implementation
WP1 Identifying the development needs of the current MELA system and defining technical and methodological requirements for a new MELA
WP2 Planning the implementation of a new MELA

3) Results
Requirement analysis for a new MELA
Project plan for the implementation of a new MELA and its components

4) Impact
The result of the project is a requirement specification and project plan for implementing modern MELA software ecosystem, which is more versatile, more transparent, scalable and user-friendly and will cover the three dimensions of sustainability (economic, ecological and social) and serve three different user groups (policy processes, forest resource companies and forest resource owners) better in their decisions.

5) Customers
The results of the project are utilized in the follow-up implementation project (MENU) for the modern MELA system.