Polsko-Norweska Współpraca Badawcza FINEGRASS

The Project “Effect of climatic changes on grassland growth, its water conditions and biomass” is funded from Polish-Norwegian Research Programme (http://www.ncbir.pl/en/norwaygrants) operated by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR).

Duration of the project: December 1, 2013 – November 30, 2016 (3 years).
Acronym of the project: FINEGRASS

Project contact: Professor Katarzyna Dabrowska-Zielinska,
email: katarzyna.dabrowska-zielinska@igik.edu.pl phone: +48 22 3291974

Project objectives:

The proposal fits into the context of two thematic areas: Environment (sub-theme: rational use of natural resources, including rational water management), and Climate Change including polar research (sub-themes: impact of climate changes on ecosystem and biodiversity; assessment of the risk of climate changes in the context of agriculture, food production, water management).

The development of methods for grassland monitoring and examination of the impact of climatic changes on biomass growth is considered as an important tool in grassland management on the national, regional and the individual grassland scale. Remote sensing methods are considered very beneficial for grassland monitoring and management because there is not enough information about their condition in existing publications. The prime objective of the project is the assessment of the influence of climatic changes on grassland growth, its water conditions, biomass, and subsequently yield.

Enhanced collaboration between Poland and Norway in the field of the protection of the environment as well as in fulfilling requirements in grassland production monitoring sustain a second project’s objective. Thanks to large datasets of phenology observation of vegetation in Norway and also in some sites in Poland it will be very precious to examine how the changes in climate proceed from North Norway to the southern areas in Poland. Contrasting between Polish and Norwegian study sites will allow for testing the models over a wide range of climatic and geographic conditions.

Spatial information on ecosystems concerning numerous biophysical parameters and their temporal changes is important for recognition of the state of environment and for determination the direction and cause of its changes. Such information is essential for climate models and could serve as the input to ESA Climate Change Initiatives.

Project research areas are:

• Assessment of impact of climate change on grassland growth conditions in different habitat types (lowland valley, lowland non-valley, mountainous, central Europe vs. Northern Norway).
• Estimation of the influence of grassland growth conditions on biomass increase, phenology and grassland yield.
• Development of method of grassland yield forecast based on RS data.
• Scientific description of the observed changes in grassland growth and development which influence the methods for management of grassland areas; elaboration of a reasonable model of grassland development and usage in the changing environment.
• Elaboration of the prognosis of environmental effects which are the consequence of a changing environment that affect modification in management of grasslands.


The short them goal of the project, namely: delivery of research results on the influence of climatic changes on grasslands growth, its water conditions and biomass, and then on yield, were achieved. The satellite data based models for soil-moisture assessment and biomass estimation were calibrated and validated and their accuracy were accepted by the Users;

The long-term application of the project outcomes are aimed at incorporating them into European Space Agency Climate Change Initiatives and moreover to enable a long-term economical-ecological-environmental prediction. Delivered methods and models will be presented to ESA CCI. The pilot implementation of the produced outputs by their Users will be performed by the Central Agricultural Advisory Office (CDR).

In order to meet the objectives of the project, the soil moisture model based on fusion of optical and microwave satellite data and the model of grasslands biomass estimations were developed. Moreover the following maps and reports were produced: vegetation indices and trends in vegetation biomass growth on the basis of satellite data, maps of grasslands vegetation indices since 1997 were developed for the national scales, the effect of climate conditions in 50-years period on yield of grasslands, determination of climatological trends in identified regions (NUTS1) of Poland and Norway applying meteorological data, ECMVF data and snow cover information collected from meteorological stations, analysis of biomass and soil moisture changes – connections with climate changes the assessment of carbon exchange in grassland areas on the basis of fusion of in-situ and remote sensing methods.

The project outcomes resulted in sixteen peer-reviewed publications, from which four international. The Project partners representatives participated 21 conferences, where they presented 38 presentations and posters. Two PhD students and postdocs were trained within the project. The project results were demonstrated during four conferences and Seminars organized by the Project Consortium. The network of about 50 potential Users was developed.

Highlighted publications:

  • Dabrowska - Zielinska K., Golinski P., Jørgensen M., Mølmann J., Taff G., Twardy S., Tomaszewska M., Golinska B., Budzynska M., Gatkowska M., Kopacz M., 2016, Satellite data for monitoring of European grasslands – new tool for adaptation to climate change, Proceedings of EGF 2016 The multiple roles of grassland in the European bioeconomy, Grassland Science in Europe , Vol. 21, pp. 817-820. PAPER - POSTER
  • Golinski P., Jørgensen M., Czerwinski M., Golinska B., Mølmann J., Taff G., 2016, Analysis of changing climate impact on timothy productivity in two contrasting geographical locations, Proceedings of EGF 2016 The multiple roles of grassland in the European bioeconomy, Grassland Science in Europe , Vol. 21, pp. 780-782. PAPER
  • Dabrowska - Zielinska K., Budzynska M., Tomaszewska M., Malinska A., Gatkowska M., Bartold M., Malek I., 2016, Assessment of Carbon Flux and Soil Moisture in Wetlands Applying Sentinel-1 Data, Remote Sensing 2016 8(9) 756; doi:10.3390/rs8090756. PAPER
  • Dabrowska-Zielinska K., Budzynska M., Tomaszewska M., Bartold M., Gatkowska M., Malek I., Turlej K., Napiorkowska M., 2014, Monitoring Wetlands Ecosystems Using ALOS PALSAR (L-Band, HV) Supplemented by Optical Data: A Case Study of Biebrza Wetlands in Northeast Poland. Remote Sens. Special Issue "Remote Sensing of Peatlands", 2014, Vol. 6(2), 1605-1633, doi:10.3390/rs6021605. PAPER

Project partners:
Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (IGiK) – Remote Sensing Centre - Project Coordinator
Norwegian Institute of Agricultural and Environmental research, Center for Arctic Agriculture and Nature Use
(Bioforsk Nord)
Norwegian Research Institute of Forestry and Landscape (Skog og Landskap)
Institute of Technology and Life Sciences, Malopolska Research Centre in Krakow (MRS)
Poznan University of Life Sciences, Department of Grassland and Natural Landscape Sciences (PULS)