Zonation within the METSO programme
Zonation supports decision-making in conservation and land-use planning
Zonation is a spatial conservation prioritization software developed by Professor Atte Moilanen and his research group at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Zonation reveals most valuable sites for expanding protected area networks. Other uses include conservation area network evaluation, targeting restoration measures and finding areas where the negative impacts of land-use on biodiversity may be minimized.
Zonation analyses are based on spatial datasets. The data describing a variety of ecological variables of the landscape can be remotely sensed or collected in the field. While the huge GIS datasets may cover entire countries or the whole world also smaller-scale analysis are often used e.g. in regional land-use planning. Financial costs and ecological connectivity may be accounted for in the analyses.
Zonation is a decision support tool. While the results provide indispensable information on the division of biodiversity values across the landscape, they typically serve only as one tool in the decision-making process.
Zonation in conservation and land-use planning in Finland
In Finland, Zonation analyses have been utilized in several national-scale conservation projects during the last few years. As part of the Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO 2008–2025 conservation area network has been expanded twice in state-owned forests using Zonation. Analyses have also been developed to support voluntary-based establishment of forest conservation areas in privately-owned areas. In 2014–2015, Zonation results serve in developing a supplementary mire conservation programme.
Also forest owner benefits from Zonation analyses: the results are used to inform land owners about sites that might be suitable for voluntary protection as part of METSO programme.
The development of Zonation analyses to support national and regional conservation and land use planning takes place by a broad-based project financed mainly by the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Participants include Metsähallitus, Finnish Environment Institute, Finnish Forest Centre, Tapio, The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä.
Project coordinator Marja Hokkanen, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland
- Research group of Professor Atte Moilanen: Conservation Biology Informatics Group at the University of Helsinki, Finland (http://cbig.it.helsinki.fi/)
- Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO (www.metsonpolku.fi/en)
- Zonation prioritization analysis for supplementary mire conservation program in Finland (Kareksela & al. 2015, pdf file, 1 Mb)
- Zonation prioritization for restoration of Natura 2000 areas in Finland. Ranking Natura 2000 habitats and Natura 2000 areas for nature management and restoration in Finland (poster, pdf file)
- Financing ministries: Ministry of the Environment (www.ym.fi/en-US); Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (www.mmm.fi/en)
Finnish Environment Institute (http://www.syke.fi/en-US)
Finnish Forest Centre (www.metsakeskus.fi)
The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (http://www.ely-keskus.fi/en/web/ely-en/)
University of Helsinki (see above)
University of Jyväskylä (https://www.jyu.fi/en)