Observations into data

In addition to the scientific collections, Luomus collects, preserves and studies databases consisting of nature observations with no accompanying specimen. These observations are collected both by researchers in surveys and monitoring efforts as well as through collating and coordinating observation data produced by volunteer hobbyists or by casual observation.

The internationally unique, decades-long time series of bird observations and the bird ringing register as well as the distribution database of Finnish vascular plants are the most important observation data.


Two of the most important long-term survey projects coordinated by Luomus are the Atlas Florae Europaeae (AFE), the international survey of vascular plants, and the Atlas of the Distribution of Vascular Plants in Finland. The primary goal of both projects is to produce maps describing plant distribution.


Bird counts are among the most significant and long-term species monitoring projects coordinated by Luomus. The survey and monitoring data generate both research material and important information resources for environmental administration. The observation data on bird populations have been used in many Luomus research projects (E.g. Finland’s birdlife markedly changing due to climate change and land use and Conservation areas help birdlife adapt to climate change).

The work of volunteers in these monitoring projects is invaluable, as more than a thousand volunteers contribute to the monitoring every year. Volunteer observations include the bird species observed in the bird counts, the numbers of individual birds, the numbers of ringed birds and nest discoveries.

The winter bird count is a national bird monitoring project launched in the winter of 1956/57. It surveys the distribution and size of the populations of winter birds in various habitats in different parts of Finland as well as changes to the bird population over the course of the winter, both from one winter to the next and over a longer timespan. The bird counts also provide information on how many birds die during the winter, how migrating bird populations travel and which migrating birds spend the winter in Finland.

The goal of the bird atlas is to determine the current distributions of the bird species that nest in Finland as well as to study the changes to those distributions. Bird distribution data has been collected in Finland in 1974–79 (1st atlas), 1986–89 (2nd atlas) and 2006–2010 (3rd atlas).

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