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Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Forest Focus scheme according to Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 concerning monitoring of forests and environmental interactions in the Community (Forest Focus) SEC(2008) 30

European Commission

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Introduction and scope. This report responds to the reporting requirements of Article 19 of Regulation 2152/2003. This regulation established a Community scheme (hereinafter referred to as 'Forest Focus') for broad based harmonised and comprehensive long-term monitoring of the condition of forests for a period of 4 years from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2006.
This regulation was repealed by Regulation (EC) No 614/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE+). As LIFE+ provides for measures relevant to the scope of Forest Focus, it is proposed not to make any proposal regarding the continuation of Forest Focus beyond 2006.
The report, therefore, is confined in scope to the implementation phase of Forest Focus.

Background and Objectives. Forest Focus built on earlier legislation related mainly to forest health condition monitoring under the UNECE Convention on Long Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) to which the Community is a party[...]. The relevant Community legislation, Council Regulation (EEC) No 3528/86 of 17 November 1986 on the protection of the Community's forests against atmospheric pollution[...] and Council Regulation (EEC) No 2158/92 of 23 July 1992 on protection of the Community's forests against fire[...] expired at the end of 2002.
Forest Focus centred on monitoring atmospheric pollution of forests, monitoring of forest fires, their causes and effects and forest fire prevention. The scheme also foresaw developing new monitoring instruments relating to soil monitoring, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, climate change and protective functions of forests, as well as evaluating the efficiency of monitoring activities. In this context, the Member States are currently carrying out studies, experiments and demonstration projects, which are to be completed in 2008.
Under the scheme, networks of thousands of observation points and plots (Level I and Level II plots [...]) were maintained in order to produce periodic inventories and carry out continuous monitoring of forest ecosystems.

[...] Forest Focus activities in each national programme can be divided into [...]:
A  ▹ activities concerning project coordination and management , such as activities related to the coordination of the national programme;
B1 ▹ activities carried out on the basis of the Level I monitoring network , such as installation and maintenance of the systematic gridnet ;
B2 ▹ activities carried out on Level II plots involving intensive monitoring , i.e. activities, such as crown condition measurements;
B3 ▹ activities on forest fire prevention , including the European Forest Fire Information System. Activities included are the establishment of firebreaks, maintenance and further development of the European Forest Fires Information System (EFFIS) and awareness raising campaigns;
C ▹ activities: Studies and demonstration projects , such as studies on the identification of causes and dynamic of forest fires, monitoring test phases (see also list of studies in the annex)
[...] The Commission (DG Joint Research Centre) supported and supports the scheme both technically and scientifically. Its scientific coordination body has set up a database designed to fulfil the needs of the data collection regime of the scheme and has developed and further improved the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) according to requirements expressed by the Member States and the Parliament. The JRC manages the European Forest Data Centre of the Commission.
On the basis of a grant agreement with the Commission, ICP-Forests [...] assured the functioning of expert panels and developed harmonised methods and standards of forest condition monitoring at Level I & II, including the elaboration of a common monitoring manual and quality assurance / quality control systems for field observations and laboratory analyses. For fulfilling these tasks, ICP-Forests was supported by 6 partners, mainly forest research institutes.
[...] ICP Forests (the International Co-operative Programme on assessment and monitoring of air pollution effects on forests) was launched in 1985 under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) due to the growing public awareness of possible adverse effects of air pollution on forests. ICP Forests monitors the forest condition in Europe, in cooperation with the European Commission using two different monitoring intensity levels. The first grid (called Level I) is based on around 6000 observation plots on a systematic transnational grid of 16 x 16 km throughout Europe. The intensive monitoring level comprises around 800 Level II plots in selected forest ecosystems in Europe. These Level I and II plots are common with the Forest Focus programme. Currently 40 countries participate in the ICP Forests. See also:

No. COM(2008) 006 final. (22 January 2008) 
Key: INRMM:14634775



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