The aim of the MENU project is to upgrade MELA software into a new software ecosystem. The main purpose of both MELA software and Mela2.0 software is to provide a research tool that is based on a NFI dataset interface and tree-wise models. The tool is aimed to be suitable for calculation of felling potentials, greenhouse gas projections as well as for scenario and impact assessments of energy and climate policies on a national level.

On 31 May, a workshop was organised on behalf of the MENU project to discuss both current and future requirements for different scenario calculations made with Mela2.0 software. The workshop was chaired by Project Leader Reijo Mykkänen, it was participated by Luke researchers who contribute to relevant scenario reports as well as experts who develop and maintain forest inventory software. Scenario calculations produced by MELA software were discussed in general. The participants also reviewed models required by a selected case scenario calculation as well as different calculation options.

It was noted that Mela2.0 development must not be conducted with a traditional approach. Instead, the future needs for the scenario calculations and ways to respond to them should be considered already now.  For example, carbon neutrality in 2035 may be a required scenario. (In other words, being able to carry out a calculation with a limit of carbon sink of a certain size in trees by 2035.)

It was also mentioned that Mela2.0 software should include tools for analysing the carbon sink of wood products. Furthermore, the participating researchers pointed out that there is a need to avoid such setups of scenarios that lead to extreme measures in forest management. These situations could be avoided by forming different scenarios more frequently.

The role of optimisation in scenario calculations was also discussed. It was noted that scenario calculation should not solely be tied with optimisation. One option is to simulate only one alternative based on the known targets of the forest owner. On the other hand, it was stated that it is never possible to get rid of optimisation because even fellings may be difficult without it. It was pointed out that MOTTI simulator has been used in scenario calculations by forming sub-scenarios, each of which represents one decision making group. Consequently, there is more than just one fixed forecast available while all forest plots are not provided with every available alternative either.

Based on the discussions, the following points need to be considered and kept in mind while developing Mela2.0:

  • Comparability with previous scenario calculations is important.
  • Calculation methods for Green House Gas inventories are currently developed (especially for soil) and in certain projections it is necessary to use methods consistent with GHG inventory, and to also to be able to report potential differences between the methods. There should be consistency between GHG inventory calculations and those provided by Mela2.0 software to some extent.
  • In the optimisation phase, it would be useful to include variables that describe the level of soil GHG. If models do not include feedback that has an impact on tree growth, soil calculations can be kept separate from the simulation of tree growth. There is, however, a need for feedback models.
  • Using climate scenarios with MOTTI growth models requires further examination.
  • MELA software has been successfully used in forecasting the provision of other ecosystem services, and they should be included in this development project.

It can be concluded that it is important to maintain comparability between old calculations and new calculation methods brought into the software while making scenario calculations. Mela2.0 software package with its model function library supports the exchange of old models with new ones while maintaining the possibility to repeat past calculations. It would probably be necessary to save applied parameters and model entities in simple log files.

During the workshop, the participants went through the definitions of different calculation phases. Those will be utilised in the design of the graphical interface of Mela2.0 system.

Author: Laura Jaakkola