Current issue: 53(4)
There is growing interest in the use of Landsat data to enable forest monitoring over large areas. Free and open data access combined with high performance computing have enabled new approaches to Landsat data analysis that use the best observation for any given pixel to generate an annual, cloud-free, gap-free, surface reflectance image composite. Finland has a long history of incorporating Landsat data into its National Forest Inventory to produce forest information in the form of thematic maps and small area statistics on a variety of forest attributes. Herein we explore the spatial and temporal characteristics of the Landsat archive in the context of forest monitoring in Finland. The United States Geological Survey Landsat archive holds a total of 30 076 images (1972–2017) for 66 scenes (each 185 km by 185 km in size) representing the terrestrial area of Finland, of which 93.6% were acquired since 1984 with a spatial resolution of 30 m. Approximately 16.3% of the archived images have desired compositing characteristics (acquired within August 1 ±30 days, <70% cloud cover, 30 m spatial resolution). Data from the Landsat archive can augment forest monitoring efforts in Finland, provide new information for science and applications, and enable retrospective, systematic analyses to characterize the development of Finnish forests over the past three decades. The capacity to monitor trends based upon this multi-decadal record with the addition of new measurements is of benefit to multisource inventories and offers nationally comprehensive spatially-explicit datasets for a wide range of stakeholders and applications.