Swedish national wetland inventory now available online


Dear wetland colleague,

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce that the Swedish National Wetland Inventory is now available on the Internet at http://www-vmi.slu.se (information so far in Swedish only).

Approximately 20 percent of the land area in Sweden consists of wetlands, primarily mires, but also wet forests, wet meadows and shallow shorelines. The National Wetland Inventory (VMI) covers nearly 35,000 wetlands in the whole country, except for the mountain areas. Each wetland has been assigned a nature conservation value based on criteria such as size, diversity, degree of disturbance and representativeness. Data includes a large number of recorded species, for example notes on 247 threatened species and 346,883 registered observations of flowering plants.

The Internet application of the National Wetland Inventory was launched publicly on June 29, 2005. This web-based database contains the full set of data from the inventory, including information on e.g. wetland types, species, cultural values, encroachments and hydrological disturbance. The database is readily searchable via a number of variables and data can also be downloaded in different formats. However, the information is only available in Swedish but an introductory text in English is underway.

The National Wetland Inventory was initiated in 1981 and completed in 2004. The inventory generally covers wetlands larger than 10 hectares (50 hectares in the northernmost part of the country), although a number of smaller, valuable wetlands are also included. All wetlands have been studied on aerial photographs and almost 30% of the objects have been visited in the field. For each wetland, hydrological disturbances and details of physical exploitation has been documented and assessed. The national wetland inventory provides an invaluable baseline for future satellite monitoring of wetlands, as well as the recently initiated inventories of the Natura 2000-network in Sweden. Further, additional inventories of rich fens are planned within an upcoming habitat action plan.

The inventory has been conducted by the individual Administrative County Boards with support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. The objectives include mapping the distribution of wetlands throughout the country, as well as studying their environmental assets and the extent to which they have been affected by human activities. Due to the large time span of the inventory, the methodology has undergone development and thus regional data varies somewhat with respect to extent and quality. All regional data has been quality controlled and gathered in a national database under the custodianship of Environmental Data Centre at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) by commission from the Swedish EPA. The EPA is currently financing a project to complete a national digital map of the wetland areas in the inventory, which will be coupled to the attribute metadata. In 2006, the inventory including methodology and main results will be presented in an EPA publication.

Kind regards,

Ann Wahlström


Ann Wahlström
Aquatic Environment Section
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
S-106 48 Stockholm Sweden
Tel: +46-8-698 14 51

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