The 7th video of the series PROGRESS Good Practices introduces VivaGrass, an integrated planning tool designed to ensure the viability of grassland areas while introducing farmers and local communities into the management of this kind of ecosystem. The tool is the result of the 2014-2019 LIFE VivaGrass project, developed by the Baltic Environmental Forum partnership, together with other partners.

The tool was developed for the three Baltic States - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, but it is transferable also to other countries by adding relevant datasets.

    Anda Ruskule, Baltic Environmental Forum – Latvia, senior expert in the VivaGrass team

VivaGrass Tool enables the integration of grassland ecosystem services into planning and decision-making by linking biophysical grassland data with expert estimation of the ecosystem services, as well as a socio-economic context. The tool is integrated into an online GIS working environment that offers to the user three modules:

  • Viva Grass Viewer: gives the opportunity to understand grassland’s ecosystem services and their potential distribution.
  • Viva Grass BioEnergy: a tool for assessing grass biomass as an energy source that can help farmers and planners with management decisions related to bioenergy.
  • Viva Grass Planner: enables professional users to carry out advanced prioritization and classification of areas based on the ecosystem service supply and other context-related data.

The video explains how VivaGrass Tool is a decision support tool for the implementation of ecosystem services concept into decision making and into special planning related to grasslands. It also explains the data products of the tool and how it can be used in different planning scales such as local to national perspectives. Later on, gives us examples of who can use VivaGrass, and the fields in which the tool can be applied. Finally, it explains how it can be used to manage land use data and how the information can be represented by soil and relief maps, and how this data can be useful from the farmer’s perspective to a national scale.

More detailed and technical information can be found at PROGRESS Handbook 4, the Good Practice database and at VivaGrass  webpage. Finally, also useful is the video recording (minute 4:48-26:05) of Anda Ruskule's presentation of VivaGrass tool in Florence (March 2022).

Now watch the video and click-up if you like the result!