Press Release

On June 21st 2011, in the International Auditorium in Brussels, FutMon, the EU’s largest LIFE+ project, presented a comprehensive update on forest information in Europe today.
Over 2.5 years and equipped with 16 mio Euro EU co-financing, 38 partners from 23 Member States redesigned the existing forest monitoring system. It is now based on around 300 intensive monitoring plots and 5500 large scale plots in the forests stretching from Northern Lapland to the South of Sicily.
“New surveys now provide data on changing climate and reactions of forest ecosystems” says Dr. Martin Lorenz from vtI Hamburg, leader of the project, and further states that “FutMon provides the relevant data for pressing issues like nitrogen deposition, the carbon cycle, forest growth and extending markets for bioenergy, as well as biodiversity and nature conservation.”Results from the monitoring programme show that:
  • Forest trees respond to an increased frequency of summer heat and drought over the last decade for central Europe. Decreasing vitality of forest trees under such conditions is documented by the data. There were no significant changes in forest health status over the past ten years on two thirds of the plots, but deterioration prevailed on the remaining third.
  • Unbalanced nutrient supply in the forest soils caused by nitrogen deposition is widespread and critical nitrogen deposition loads are still exceeded on around half of the plots. Nitrate leaching to the ground waters and relations to vegetation and lichen species diversity are documented by the programme.
  • Forests in Europe help mitigate climate change. Carbon uptake by forests is presently thought to correspond to around 10% of the emissions. Monitoring results show that nitrogen deposition accelerated tree growth and thus carbon uptake. But these climate change mitigation effects may decrease in future because forest growth cannot be endlessly accelerated. Growth models in Europe rely on the monitoring data to quantify these effects.
Precise, up to date and cost efficiently acquired information is of utmost importance to sustainably manage and maintain Europe’s forests. For this reason Dr. Lorenz stresses the importance of the continued financing under LIFE+: “Once the investment in the system design and instalment has been made, the continuous operation of the system is a must”.
Dr. Martin Lorenz
martin [dot] lorenz [at] vti [dot] bund [dot] de, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute (vTI) -- tel: +49-40-73962-140 -- --


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a Life+ co-financed project for the "Further Development and Implementation of an EU-level Forest Monitoring System".

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The project coordination centre is situated at the Institute for World Forestry, Hamburg, Germany.

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The FutMon project assembles 38 institutions in 24 EU countries