Inventories and areas of the VELMU - programme
Photo:BIOGEO & Metsähallitus
The aim of marine underwater inventories implemented under the VELMU-project is to produce comprehensive information on the underwater wildlife of the Finnish sea areas. Under VELMU, abiotic (geological and physical-chemical features) and biotic environmental variables (species and habitats) are monitored. The inventories concern especially the sea bed and partly also the water column. During Inventories, areas that are affected by anthropogenic influences, such as dredging, gravel digging and building ( e.g. wind power stations), are also taken into account.
Inventories are implemented by co-operation of government and many different organizations Work is started by gathering already existing information installed into the VELMU- database. Data poor areas are monitored by field research (e.g. diving, underwater video and echosounding). Areas that need to be monitored are decided on the regional level. Because it is not possible to monitor all sea areas, habitat modelling is used to help produce comprehensive information.
Gathered information is processed and is shown mainly on a map form in three different scales.
- The common features of the sea areas, such as geological formations and biogeographical areas are shown on a national level (scale: 1:1 000 000 - 1:500 000). This level creates a basis for the following, more specific map work.
- Underwater landscapes and biotopes are represented on an areal level (scale: 1:200 000 - 1:100 000).
- More accurate and detailed information is represented on a local level (scale: 1:25 000 - 1:5000) for very limited area. On this level habitats (common eel grass fields, Bladder wrack growth, Blue mussel beds), their distribution and characteristics as well as fish spawning areas can be described.
The target areas of the VELMU –project are Finnish territorial waters and economic zone (EEZ) (law on Finland's economic zone 1058/2004). The inventory program of the underwater marine environment is implemented on the Finnish coast in 5 areas (start year in brackets): Archipelago sea (pilot project's in 2003), the Quark area (2006), the Gulf of Finland (2007), the Bothnian Bay (2008), the Bothnian sea (2009). The Inventory program is due to the end of the year 2014.
- The Archipelago Sea
- The Quark area
- The Gulf of Finland
- The Bothnian Bay
- The Bothnian Sea
For more information:
Anna-Leena Downie, Finnish Environment Institute
Penina Blankett, Ministry of the Environment Tel. +358 20 490 7103