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Intensive monitoring of forest ecosystems in Europe: 1 - Objectives, set-up and evaluation strategy

W. de Vries, E. Vel, G. J. Reinds, H. Deelstra, J. M. Klap, E. E. J. M. Leeters, C. M. A. Hendriks, M. Kerkvoorden, G. Landmann, J. Herkendell, T. Haussmann, J. W. Erisman

In order to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of air pollution and other environmental factors on forest ecosystems, a Pan-European Programme for Intensive and Continuous Monitoring of Forest Ecosystems has been implemented in 1994. Results of the Programme must contribute to a European wide overview of impacts of air pollution and the further development of its control strategies, being described in air pollution protocols. Objectives of the Intensive Monitoring Programme related to air pollution are the assessment of: (i) responses of forest ecosystems to changes in air pollution; (ii) differences between present loads and critical loads (long-term sustainable inputs) of atmospheric deposition; and (iii) impacts of future scenarios of atmospheric deposition on the ecosystem condition. Furthermore, the Intensive Monitoring Programme contributes to the assessment of ‘criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management’, such as the maintenance of forests as a net carbon sink to reduce the build up of atmospheric greenhouse gasses and the maintenance of species diversity of ground vegetation.
The Intensive Monitoring Programme, which is carried out on approximately 860 selected plots, comprises monitoring of crown condition, forest growth and the chemical status of soil and foliage at all plots and monitoring of deposition, meteorology, soil solution and ground vegetation in a subset of the plots. In order to meet the major objectives of the Intensive Monitoring Programme, studies have been or are presently carried out with respect to the assessment of: (i) correlations between site and stress factors and the “forest ecosystem condition”; (ii) trends in stress factors and/or ecosystem conditions; (iii) critical loads, by evaluating the fate of atmospheric pollutants in the ecosystem with input–output budgets; and (iv) large-scale and long-term impacts of climate and deposition on forests and vice versa. Examples of those studies are given and the potential of the Programme to fulfil the objectives is evaluated.

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 174, No. 1-3. (February 2003), pp. 77-95, 
Key: INRMM:14634571



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