A new study reveals how environmental impacts on European ecosystems can be monitored more accurately
Continental ecosystems are going through distinct yet subtle changes due to the global warming, pollution and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increase. Namely, the changes in CO2 concentration, air temperature, solar radiation, water vapour, ozone and nitrogen are playing an important role in addition to dramatic events such as fires, drought and heatwaves.
Thanks to the new study by Moreaux, Moisy, Loustau, Josse, Gielen and Papale, the research networks observing the changes in different types of forests in Europe are now able to assess how ongoing measurements could detect subtle changes in forest functioning in terms of network design.
A few research networks are monitoring long-term changes in forests in Europe, such as Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe (eLTER), International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests), and Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems (AnaEE). The sensitivity of their observations is affected by several factors, such as the number of stations within the network, the geographical distribution of the stations, and the duration of the measurements. The study findings help research infrastructures to design their networks more strategically. More strategical design leads to increased accuracy of measurements, adequate size and coverage of the networks, completeness and interoperability within- and between networks.
The study was done within the framework of the European Union Horizon 2020 project RINGO, Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations. The findings were presented at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) international conference in Brazil in September-October 2019.