In Finland, several organisations have collected and maintained land use and land cover information for decades now. They have collected information from various sources using different methods, and this information has then been saved in different systems. The goals of monitoring and the factors to be monitored have also changed from time to time. Regardless of close and smooth cooperation, merging the information into a comprehensive land use dataset has been a challenge.
Developing a knowledge base for land use requires that current data needs are understood. These needs have to be specified and prioritised with data providers and stakeholders. Here close and open cooperation between data providers and shared practices is required.
‘Forests, for example, play a significant role in climate change mitigation and the targeting of actions. As forestry land accounts for more than 80% of Finland’s land area, building new infrastructure inevitably causes forest loss making it more difficult to achieve our climate goals,’ says Kari T. Korhonen, principal scientist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The goal of developing a common knowledge base for monitoring land use and its changes (Mammutti) is to develop monitoring. The project is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). Other project parties include the NLS, Luke, the Finnish Food Authority and the Finnish Forest Centre. The project brings the organisations’ individual and shared goals together.
‘Together, we need to ensure that we have a sufficient understanding of each other’s goals and those of our stakeholders to produce relevant data products. In the project, we plan shared sustainable practices to provide even better information about changes in the land use sector,’ says Elise Järvenpää, senior coordinator at SYKE.
The Topographic Database is to be updated more frequently to make reporting easier
A significant goal for the NLS is to make those features that represent land use and land cover in the Topographic Database more up to date by using tips and any new register and remote sensing datasets.
‘The current updating rate of the Topographic Database is insufficient from the perspectives of monitoring land use changes and international reporting,’ says Ulla Pyysalo, senior specialist at the NLS.
‘We hope that in 2025, the NLS will chart feature classes that represent land use and land cover so that their definition matches even the most recent needs of stakeholders.’
Lifecycle data will be saved in features pertaining to the new feature classes in order to monitor changes better than before. A permanent ID will also be provided for features, which can also be used to link other data providers’ data. Mapping will be based on aerial photos and other datasets.
Steps towards better reporting and a carbon-neutral Finland
Luke is responsible for inventorying the greenhouse gas emissions of national forests and the land use sector. This is why developing the monitoring of land use is an important goal.
‘We hope that in 2025 we will have detailed guidelines to update and specify geospatial data related to land use so that the data can be used in reporting the greenhouse gas emissions of the LULUCF sector and in improving the accuracy of forest resource estimates,’ says Korhonen.
SYKE monitors the state of the environment and any long term changes in it extensively. To this end, it requires information about waterbodies, biodiversity and the built environment.
‘Our goal is that a detailed and harmonised knowledge base for land use will lay a solid foundation for the monitoring of climate action in the future. At the same time, it will provide valuable background data for other environmental state monitoring reports and datasets,’ says Elise Järvenpää.
Addressing the environment better in agriculture
The Finnish Food Authority enforces the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Finland. It is responsible for the payment of national and EU subsidies. One of the goals of the upcoming CAP period (2023–2027) is to better address targeted environmental activities in agriculture.
This requires that planning, decision making and monitoring are based on comprehensive and high-quality datasets.
Towards a more carbon-neutral Finland
The Mammutti project is part of the Catch the Carbon programme, the goal of which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen carbon sinks and stocks.
‘We hope that by 2025 all organisations participating in the project will have an even better understanding of the data needs related to land use and its monitoring, and that cooperation to meet these needs is effective as a result of mutually agreed processes,’ says Järvenpää in summary.
If these goals can be achieved, Finland will again have slightly better grounds in order to take steps towards carbon neutrality.
What is the Mammutti project?
- The project for developing a shared knowledge base for monitoring land use and any changes in it (Mammutti) is a joint project of five organisations that provide land use information. The project parties include SYKE, the NLS, Luke, the Finnish Food Authority and the Finnish Forest Centre.
- The land use sector covers forests, agricultural land, grasslands, peatlands and wetlands, for example.
- The project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and is part of the Catch the Carbon programme.
- Its aim is to improve the knowledge base that represents land use and any changes in it as a platform for reporting, planning, monitoring and decision making, and produce data products for this purpose.
- In addition, the project will build shared practices for organisations that provide land use information to enable the regular monitoring of land use and any changes in it.
- The project started in January 2021 and ends in the summer of 2023.
Elise Järvenpää works as a senior coordinator at SYKE in the Built Environment Solutions Unit. She works as a coordinator in the Mammutti project. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ulla Pyysalo is a senior specialist at the NLS. She represents the NLS in the Mammoth project. Email: email@example.com
Markus Haakana works as a research scientist and Kari T. Korhonen as a principal scientist at Luke. Haakana is responsible for the Mammoth project at Luke. Korhonen is responsible for the national forest inventory. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anders Munck works as a chief specialist of geographic information systems at the Finnish Food Authority. He represents his organisation in the Mammoth project. Email: email@example.com