International Cooperative Programme on
Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects
Mr. M. Köhl
Head of Programme
Centre: Mr. M. Lorenz
ICP Forests was set up to monitor
the effects of air pollution on Europe's forests.
The objectives of ICP Forests are:
- to monitor effects of anthropogenic
(in particular air pollution) and natural stress
factors on the condition and development of forest
ecosystems in Europe, and
- to contribute to a better understanding
of cause-effect relationships in forest ecosystem
functioning in various parts of Europe.
The programme is planned and coordinated
by a Task Force under the leadership of Germany
with the cooperation of a Programme Coordinating
Centre (at the Federal Research Centre for Forestry
and Forest Products, in Hamburg, Germany). There
are currently 41 countries participating in the
Since 1986, ICP Forests has conducted
an annual transnational survey of forest condition
in Europe, from 1991 in close cooperation with the
European Commission (EC). This transnational survey
aims to document the development of forest condition
at the European level rather than on the national
scale. This is accomplished by means of annual large-scale
monitoring of tree vitality (6 000 sample plots
with about 130 000 sample trees) and a number of
site parameters on a uniform 16 km x 16 km transnational
grid of sample plots (known as "level I"
monitoring). In addition to tree vitality surveys,
soil and foliar analyses are performed on parts
of these level I plots.
In order to contribute to a better
understanding of air pollution and other factors
which may influence forest ecosystems, a programme
for intensive and continuous monitoring of forest
ecosystems (level II) has been implemented. In this
context 860 permanent observation plots for intensive
monitoring of forest ecosystems have been established
across Europe. The intensive monitoring includes
the assessment of crown condition, increment and
chemical composition of foliage and soils on all
plots. Additional measurements on a limited number
of plots include (i) atmospheric deposition (60%
of the plots), (ii) meteorological parameters (20%
of the plots), (iii) soil solution chemistry (30%
of the plots), ground vegetation assessments (expected
on 70% of the plots) as well as ambient air quality.
Within each of these surveys, a number of mandatory
and optional parameters has been defined. Additional
surveys which are not denoted as either mandatory
or optional, are also carried out in many countries,
such as aereal photography and studies on phenology,
phytopathology, litter-fall, dendochronology, lichens,
mosses, insects and fungi, as well as more intensive
monitoring such as gas exchange, root damage, etc.
This monitoring activities are organized by ICP
Forests and the EC and performed by individual countries.
The data from the level II intensive monitoring
plots are currently stored and maintained at the
Programme Coordinating Centre.
Further information is available
from the Programme