Integrated Planning Tool

The “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool” (further – “Viva Grass tool”) is a support tool for decision making and planning sustainable use and management of grasslands. It enables integration of grassland ecosystem services into planning and decision making by linking biophysical grassland data (e.g. land quality, relief, land use/habitat types) with expert estimates of the ecosystem services as well as socio-economic context. The tool is integrated into an online GIS working environment and allows users:

  • to assess the supply and trade-offs of grassland ecosystem services in user-defined areas, as well as
  • to develop ecosystem-based grassland management and planning scenarios.

The “Viva Grass tool” is tested in nine case study areas across the three Baltic States (two farms, four municipalities, two protected areas and one county), each of them having a different spatial and thematic scale, as well as different data availability. Thus, the “Viva Grass Tool” demonstrates the applicability of ecosystem services related information at different planning scales and contexts.

The “Viva Grass Tool” combines information on land use (semi-natural, permanent and cultivated grasslands, arable land), data on natural conditions (land quality & slope) and expert assessments of ecosystem services in different grassland types to create distribution maps of ecosystem services. Furthermore, the “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool” offers the spatial visualisation of ecosystem services’ bundles and trade-offs as well as hotspot and coldspot areas, which helps to make decisions on the most beneficial use of grasslands, from nature’s as well as people’s point of view. The “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool” incorporates data for the entire area of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which means that it can be applied for any location in these countries. The use possibilities of the “Viva Grass Tool” are not limited to the presented examples (explicitly explained in self-learning platform) – it can be applied for different planning and decision making situations.

In the video bellow we shortly present “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool”. You can also turn on subtitles.



Tool modules


The “Viva Grass Tool” offers three modules: “Viva Grass Viewer”, “Viva Grass BioEnergy” and “Viva Grass Planner”, each designed for different user groups and context of decision-making.




Data products of the Tool


A long list of useful and reusable datasets, which we call “Data products of the Tool“, were created when developing “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool” and it’s 3 modules. Those datasets themselves are valuable results, since they incorporate  new information and loads of know-how from researches, spatial analysis, ecosystem service assessment, data analysis and visualization; and they can be widely reused or adapted for related research, analyses and planning solutions.

Comprehensive information datasets related to grasslands, ecosystem services and visualization of various GIS data can be found in the galleries bellow. Data covers three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  The provided data can help to implement integrated planning and ecosystem service approaches in various planning processes.

Viva Grass basemap

It is the main dataset of “Viva Grass tool”, the foundation map , on which we base all our analysis, which includes information about grasslands or arable land and it’s ecosystem services in 3 Baltic States. In this dataset  you will find information about land use, land quality, relief, ecosystem services of the exact plot, also some additional information like recommendations for management, information about semi-natural grassland belonging to habitats according to Annex I list and etc.

All land plots in “Viva Grass basemap“ are classified into 40 categories according: current land-use, relief features and land quality. These 3 factors are considered the main ones which determine the delivery of ecosystem services.

You can download/use the “Viva Grass  basemap“ either as the final product (which is a dataset and maps ) or in a form of a matrix (a spreadsheet), which you can adapt and edit according to your needs.

Viva Grass data management tools

It is all the knowledge (logics, methodology and tools) used for data preparation and better data visualization in “Viva Grass tool”. Data management tools can be used either better to understand the construction of the “Viva Grass tool”, in simple words saying – our recipe, how we made it, or to inspire you for your further scientific research in the fields of ecosystem services, GIS tool development, GIS application in nature conservation and etc.

You can either use the same logics as scientists of “LIFE Viva Grass” project used or adapt it according to your needs. In the following files you can find a detailed descriptions, how we came up with some concrete results.

Derivative data products

Those are visually expressed datasets, that the project team developed when analyzing different grassland management scenarios and use-cases of “Viva Grass Tool”. They provide a wider context and help analyze ecosystem service-based information about grasslands easier and from different perspectives. They all were specially prepared or adapted by “LIFE Viva Grass” team. Most of them are based on “Viva Grass basemap”, and all of them visually demonstrate special data distribution. These datasets are final products, you cannot edit them, but they provide a certain visual expression, which could broaden your analysis and give it a different perspective angle.

These datasets can help you make grassland-related planning solutions easier.

Contextual data related to ecosystem service assessment

It is a list of external datasets, that we use in the tool in order to give a broader context for the analysis and help  solve problems related to grassland management. Our team didn’t develop those datasets – they are taken from various sources. Most of the datasets are open and can be found in national geoportals or can be requested directly from data owners. However, we collected them into this data gallery in order for you to find grassland-related data easier.

We have used the contextual data in “Viva Grass tool” in two ways: we have inserted it in the tool, made some links with other data to produce the concrete practical use of our “Viva Grass tool” or simply as separate layers to give some context to the primary data.

We encourage you to use this data as well as the data we created (derivative data products, Viva Grass basemap) in order to have a more comprehensive and integrated analysis



Terms used in the tool


Using “Viva Grass Integrated Planning Tool” requires to understand the concept of ecosystem services and to know some other terms. Here you can find explanations of terms used in the 3 modules of the Tool. Continue Reading