International Cooperative Programme (ICP) on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description (abstract)

The Integrated Monitoring (IM) project forms the Finnish contribution to the International Cooperative Programme on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems, which is part of the effect-oriented activities of the 1979 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). The Integrated Monitoring programme is one of six specialist International Cooperative Programmes (ICPs) that have been set up under the LRTAP Convention's Working Group on Effects.

The original aim of ICP Integrated Monitoring was to determine and predict the state and change of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in a long-term perspective with respect to the impact of acidifying air pollutants, sulphur and nitrogen. The purpose being to provide a scientific basis for policy decisions on emission controls and assessment of the ecosystem recovery through such controls. In addition to the impacts of acidifying subtances on ecosystems, the IM monitoring programme allows the ecological effects of heavy metal deposition to be determined and provides data for examining the impacts of climatic change on carbon cycling and biodiversity at the ecosystem level.

The ICP IM programme is based mainly on a network of small headwater catchments located throughout the UNECE region (most of Europe and Canada). The catchments are located in natural or semi-natural areas, representing backround reference areas little affected by direct point sources of pollution, land-use change or management. Biogeochemical monitoring subprogrammes include deposition, throughfall, soil, soil water, ground water, lake and stream water, and biotic subprogrammes include forest, ground vegetation, lichens, fish and hydrobiology. Through the collection of long-term data sets, ecosystem responses to environmental change can be assessed, trends indentified, and cause-and-effect relationships to be established. Furthermore, the comprehensive data enable biogeochemical and ecosystem models to be calibrated, allowing the future state of the environment and ecosystems to be predicted.

There are four IM catchments in Finland: Valkea-Kotinen (61°N), Hietajärvi (63°N), Pesosjärvi (66°N), and Vuoskojärvi (70°N), representing the boreal zone. They are all situated in protected conservation areas. Monitoring activities started in 1988-89. In 1999, because of limited resources, the permanent plot IM subprogrammes ceased at the Pesosjärvi and Vuoskojärvi catchments. From 2000, permanent plot IM subprogrammes were taken over by and integrated into the national ICP Forests level II plot network. The IM programme has produced many scientific papers and several doctoral theses.
Effective start/end date01/01/1989 → …

Fields of Science

  • 117 Geography, Environmental sciences
  • small catchments
  • biogeochemistry
  • 4112 Forestry
  • forest ecology