LIFE Project Cover Photo

Knowledge based data services -improving the life cycle and accessibility of environmental data provided for public interest

Reference: LIFE10 ENV/FI/000063 | Acronym: LifeData



In 2006, FOREST EUROPE (The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe) and the Council for Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) jointly recognised sustainable forest management to be consistent with the Ecosystem Approach. With three quarters of its land area under forest cover, Finland is Europe's most forested country and therefore it plays an important role in contributing to sustainable forest management and the ecosystem approach – promoting conservation and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable forest management practices that can provide benefits for both present and future generations.


The objective of the LifeData project was to identify and demonstrate new forest management methods for generating an integrated data management process. The project aimed to develop and demonstrate a unique database system linking integrated forest databases with those of other participating LYNET (Finnish Partnership for Research on Natural Resources and the Environment) organisations. The data collected will bridge the gap between data/information producers and users, enabling simple access to the integrated information. Specific project aims also included the building of data search and user-interface services.


The LifeData project demonstrated new and improved data management methods and user-application systems for integrating forest data management processes in Finland. This rationalisation of data bridged the gap between data/information producers and users, enabling easier access to databases. The project integrated the data of the seven participating LYNET (Finnish Partnership for Research on Natural Resources and the Environment) organisations, created service maps for these organisations, and developed search tools and user-interface services for accessing the integrated data. An analysis carried out among the main forestry data users in Finland indicated that the customers’ main need was reliable data and summarised information, which could be acquired quickly and was flexible to use. To this end, the project developed a new data architecture, to give an overall picture of the data sources and the data managing processes. Databases that could easily be combined were developed to allow data sources to be accessed within one functional system.

The project made open environmental data repositories easier for data-users to access using publicly-available ontology-based metadata search systems (RADAR and the SYKE Metadata portal). For all data included in the service, metadata descriptors were included to ensure data can easily be found and used in the future. The descriptions included the title of the dataset, the temporal and geographical data coverage, owners and contact details for the data, and a data summary with keywords. The project team ensured that the service was user-friendly, easy to use for publishing and for updating data descriptions, and that data and information can easily be shared between organisations via an interface. Geographic information, remote sensing datasets and information system descriptions of SYKE, for example, are made available in a standard form in one mutual service. By facilitating data recycling, research capacity is increased and sustainable development enhanced.

The project produced the following innovative on-line user interfaces:

  • this service produces on-line information on game statistics and species, for professional stakeholders, governmental decision makers and citizens. The statistics and information provided by the service is used, for example, for determining the annual sustainable hunting intensities for species throughout the country. For the creation of the interface, a new innovative system for counting and collecting data for small game populations on a national level was developed. The new user interface enables hunters to save their game observations directly on-line in the database. User groups for the service include the public, especially children and school pupils, who wish to increase their knowledge on various game species;
  • DataPuu: a service particularly for research purposes, which enables efficient usage, storage, and reuse of large long-term datasets that can be utilised flexibly. It automates the collecting and transferring of data from field computers into the database, automatically completing the calculation work by integrating the database with various statistical analysis tools; and
  • VALUE: this service facilitates the delineation and downloading for catchments for any river segment or lake in a mapped river network. It enables the attachment of other spatial data to the views, such as forest areas, which increases the attractiveness of the service.
  • The Generic Conceptual Model developed in the INSPIRE processes, for standardising information at the EU level, was applied whenever possible; thereby the project results have helped implement the INSPIRE directive. The project results also promoted Council Directive 90/313/EEC on the freedom of access to information on the environment. LifeData applications therefore enable existing data to be located and used more efficiently for various purposes, including forest management and policy making. Data previously difficult to access for research or spatial planning purposes is now available via internet portals and interfaces, which increases the potential for innovation in environmental solutions. It can also increase the social benefits for the public, by providing easier access to information for well-informed management decisions that promote sustainable development. Economic benefits mainly stem from the increased accessibility of the data and the possibility of re-using existing data for various purposes, as data collection is very time consuming and expensive, both for research and management purposes.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


    Reference: LIFE10 ENV/FI/000063
    Acronym: LifeData
    Start Date: 01/09/2011
    End Date: 31/12/2015
    Total Budget: 2,906,601 €
    EU Contribution: 1,351,498 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Metsäntutkimuslaitos (Finnish ForestResearch Institute)
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Jokiniemenkuja 118, 01301, Vantaa, Finland Suomi
    Contact Person: Anu KANTOLA
    Tel: +358 40 801 5154

    LIFE Project Map



    • Knowledge development
    • Forest management


    • forest ecosystem
    • forestry
    • forest management
    • information service


    • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)


    Name Type
    Metsäntutkimuslaitos (Finnish ForestResearch Institute) Coordinator
    Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Finland Participant
    Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finland Participant