Data Stewardship in Action: Seeing the Forest for the Trees in Finland
“Finland’s model in utilising forest data” is a new report analyzing the “background, implementation, and future prospects” of Finland’s private forestry data pooling platform, Metsään.fi. The report was developed by the research center Pellervo Economic Research PTT in partnership with the Finnish Forest Centre, a state-funded organization under the guidance of Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The Metsään.fi platform provides a compelling view into the public value of increasing the availability of data collected from Finland’s privately owned forests. As described in the report, these private forests are important components of the country’s ecosystem and economy. They represent around 60 percent of Finland’s forest land and provide roughly 80 percent of the domestic wood used by the country’s forest industry.
Through Metsään.fi, the Finnish Forest Centre pools and makes accessible remote sensing data drawn from these many privately-owned forests. The data is collected through aerial photography, laser scanning, and sample plot measurements, among other mechanisms. The free platform is especially targeted at forest owners, government representatives, industry actors, and others whose decision-making could benefit from access to up-to-date situational analysis on the country’s forests.
The report’s analysis of the platform and survey of users demonstrates the value of this data for regional forest planning and for lowering transaction and operating costs associated with forest management, harvest planning, wood use assessments, and other such activities. In order to make these benefits possible, data stewards at the Finnish Forest Centre strategically bundled useful and relevant data into a single data pool. These stewards are also focused on ensuring the data provided on the platform remains relevant and up-to-date over time, a key requirement from the demand side of this data collaborative.