Finnish method used in forest inventories in dozens of countries

Finland has focused on cooperation with the UN and is among top experts specialising in tropical forests. A recently completed pilot project led to a global monitoring program for measuring carbon sinks.

“In Finland, national forest inventories (NFIs) have been conducted longer than anywhere else, starting about a hundred years ago. More than ten time series have been made in Finland so far,” says Vesa Kaarakka, Senior Adviser (forests) in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, listing factors that have made Finland a sought-after partner in the forest sector in the developing countries - reports on the site of Ministry for foreign affairs of Finland.

Forests were there first – then came technological expertise and geospatial data. These were soon united, and Finland was in the possession of the very combination of methods that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) needed to support the developing countries measure carbon sinks in compliance with the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

FAO and Finland launched a joint pilot project in five countries, Tanzania, Ecuador, Zambia, Peru and Vietnam in 2009. In three of them, a national forest inventory was conducted for the first time in their history. The inventory carried out in Tanzania was the most comprehensive made in any developing country. This spring, FAO reported that Zambia, the last of the project countries, had also completed the project, calling the results ground-breaking.

The pilot countries now have methods and tools at their disposal for cost-effective monitoring of the state of their forests and the amounts of carbon and biomass contained in them. Accurate forest data is useful for both the international community and developing countries managing their own forests.

“Later on, these countries can get financial compensations through the international climate change mechanisms, which would not be possible without a well-functioning monitoring and reporting system,” Kaarakka says.

“In addition, socioeconomic data has been collected to provide information about importance of forests, the use of different tree species and their use as a source of income. This helps the countries to plan how to utilise their forests as a means to promote economic growth.

Openness as a precondition

In many tropical countries, deforestation is proceeding at an alarming rate. In Myanmar, for instance, the rate of forest depletion is the third highest in the world. Finland is just starting the next National Forest Inventory (NFI) and National Forest Monitoring Information System (NFMIS) project, to be fully launched in the course of 2017.

The results of the earlier pilot project will be used in Myanmar, such as the Open Foris Collect Earth software package for forestry management, which was developed in the course of the piloting. Open Foris contains tools for collecting data on forest cover as well as for the processing, analysis and reporting of the accumulated material.

“Developing the methodology was an important component of the cooperation between FAO and Finland also in terms of the global playing field. Today, Open Foris is in use in one way or other in over 50 countries,” Kaarakka tells.

It was also important that the use of the software is based on a free open-source code – this is why its name includes the word “Open”. Knowledge is power, and individual actors may also have selfish interests related to the management of data obtained from forest inventories.

“Our funding has always been based on the condition that all material and data will be available to all those who need it from the global level to the national decision-makers and grassroots level. This is where Finland has succeeded well.”

Research institutes’ support is important

A comprehensive network of Finnish experts are involved in the inventory projects. The Natural Resources Institute Finland, LUKE, for instance, has made its expertise available for the development programmes for a long time. In Myanmar, training in the subject matter is supported also by the University of Helsinki, which is engaged in regional cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs).

Finnish experts representing the private sector have also been involved in these projects from time to time. For example, Arbonaut, a Finnish company from the city of Joensuu, has participated in the development of a mobile data collection tool that has been used in FAO’s projects. Reaktor Innovations, a creative technology business, is developing a novel solution for the collection global forest resource statistics. Finnish names are seen in the UN, too: Anssi Pekkarinen, who previously worked as Researcher at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), is leading FAO’s global forest inventory and monitoring programme.

In 2009–2017, Finland supported the pilot programme implemented in the five countries mentioned above by EUR 15.25 billion; for the forest inventory in Myanmar in 2017–2021, EUR 9.5 million has been earmarked. However, more important than the euros are the experience, international network and know-how that have been built up over the years.

“It can certainly be said that in this sector Finland punches well above its weight. You could even say Finland is a ‘superpower’ when it comes to forest inventories,” says Kaarakka.Ministry for foreign affairs of Finland.

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

Ministry for foreign affairs of Finland
forests technology Finland
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in february
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....