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Over the past two decades various European forest information projects have had the vision to build a distributed Europe forest information network, in which existing data can be identified and made available to a community of users. One of these projects was the Network for a European Forest Information Service (NEFIS). It ran from 2003 to 2005. The results of NEFIS are the subject of this report.
The project explored an overall information system architecture based on existing data reporting structures at national, EU and international levels. Development of a metadata schema to enable discovery of resources was a second important step. An advanced demonstration version of a European forest information system was developed. It consists of three main components: (1) resource discovery catalogue based on the NEFIS metadata schema; (2) a visualization toolkit allowing for exploratory data analysis; and (3) a remote search demonstrator presenting an example of how distributed data sets can be identified, compiled and analysed. The example of the remote search used forest inventory data from six European countries. The report includes a set of considerations for the development of an operational forest information system.