Vesilahti P39, 12.7.2001 © Tapio Heikkilä/ Visuaalinen maisemaseuranta/ MTT:n arkisto


This web site is based on the extensive photographic material collected in a project named Visual monitoring of Finnish landscapes, which started in 1996. During this project, landscape changes were documented systematically at selected agricultural areas throughout the country. These photos also laid the groundwork for the PhD dissertation of Doctor of Arts Tapio Heikkilä in 2007. To date, the archive of the visual material consists of ca. 4 700 photographs and video clips.

The visual monitoring of landscapes has been a part of a wider research project, aimed to assess the effectiveness of the national Agri-Environmental support scheme. Its results have been published in several research reports, the latest of which was released in May 2014.

Cultural landscapes in Finland were surveyed for the first time during 1986–1992. As a result, a total of 156 landscape areas were classified as nationally valuable. This inventory is currently being updated. The occurrence of species-rich traditional rural biotopes was also surveyed in 1996–2001. Traditional rural biotopes, such as grazed open meadows and wooded pastures are an essential part of the diversity of the Finnish countryside. Traditional rural biotopes are a primary habitat for many endangered species, and they are likewise endangered as a habitat type.

The visual monitoring of landscapes in Finland consists of two independent parts. The majority of the photos were taken at agricultural sites, located at nationally valuable landscape areas. The second part contains images of valuable traditional rural biotopes in the regions of Uusimaa and Pirkanmaa in Southern Finland.

Browse the agricultural landscapes

Browse the traditional rural biotopes