iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Monitoring the effects of air pollution on forest condition in Europe: is crown defoliation an adequate indicator?

J Johnson (1), M Jacob (2)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages 86-88 (2010)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0538-003
Published: Jul 15, 2010 - Copyright © 2010 SISEF

Review Papers

Collection/Special Issue: NFZ Summer School 2009 - Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
Long-term ecosystem research: understanding the present to shape the future
Guest Editors: Marcus Schaub (WSL, Switzerland)

Forest condition in Europe is monitored under the International Co-operative Program on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests). The focus of the program is to provide an overview of the status of forest ecosystems in Europe with respect to air pollution and contribute to the understanding of the relationship between pollution and forest health. Crown condition parameters, i.e., defoliation and discoloration, are used as the principal indicators of forest condition within the ICP Forest network. Crown condition assessments have been successful in disproving the “forest die-back” hypothesis. However, there are a number of limitations associated with this approach given the current monitoring objectives. Data from crown condition assessments indicate that stand age and country differences explain most of the variation in crown defoliation. It is difficult to clearly discern the effects of air pollution from other site and stress factors. The results do however indicate the role of meteorology and other factors. A better understanding of the relationships between forest condition and air pollution may be achieved if more specific, quantitative response variables are selected. However, we suggest that the original focus of the program on air pollution effects may need to be re-evaluated.


Air pollution, Forest health, Monitoring, Crown condition, Defoliation

Authors’ address

J Johnson
Environmental and Life Sciences Program, 1600 West Bank Drive, K9J 7B8 Peterborough, Ontario (Canada)
M Jacob
Department of Plant Ecology, Albrecht von Haller Institute of Plant Sciences, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, D-37073 Göttingen (Germany)

Corresponding author

M Jacob


Johnson J, Jacob M (2010). Monitoring the effects of air pollution on forest condition in Europe: is crown defoliation an adequate indicator?. iForest 3: 86-88. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0538-003

Academic Editor

Marcus Schaub

Paper history

Received: May 25, 2010
Accepted: May 31, 2010

First online: Jul 15, 2010
Publication Date: Jul 15, 2010
Publication Time: 1.50 months

Breakdown by View Type

(Waiting for server response...)

Article Usage

Total Article Views: 29733
(from publication date up to now)

Breakdown by View Type
HTML Page Views: 23757
Abstract Page Views: 1642
PDF Downloads: 3592
Citation/Reference Downloads: 54
XML Downloads: 688

Web Metrics
Days since publication: 5088
Overall contacts: 29733
Avg. contacts per week: 40.91

Article Citations

Article citations are based on data periodically collected from the Clarivate Web of Science web site
(last update: Nov 2020)

Total number of cites (since 2010): 8
Average cites per year: 0.73


Publication Metrics

by Dimensions ©

Articles citing this article

List of the papers citing this article based on CrossRef Cited-by.

Aber JD, Driscoll CT (1997)
Effects of land use, climate variation, and N deposition on N cycling and C storage in northern hardwood forests. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11: 639-648.
CrossRef | Gscholar
De Vries W, Reinds GJ, van Kerkvoorden M, Hendriks CMA, Leeters EEJM, Gross C, Voogd J, Vel E (2000)
Intensive monitoring of forest ecosystems in Europe. Technical Report 2000, UNECE/EC, Geneva, Brussels, Belgium.
De Vries W, Vel E, Reinds GJ, Deelstra H, Klap JM, Leeters EEJM, Hendriks CMA, Kerkvoorden M, Landmann G, Herkendell J, Haussmann T, Erisman JW (2003)
Intensive monitoring of forest ecosystems in Europe. 1. Objectives, set-up and evaluation strategy. Forest Ecology and Management 174: 77-95.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ellenberg H (1995)
Neuartige Waldschäden? Ökologische Kritik an den Untersuchungsmethoden. Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift 796-797.
Ellenberg H (1996)
Vegetation Mitteleuropas mit den Alpen: In ökologischer, dynamischer und historischer Sicht. Ulmer, Stuttgart, Germany.
Ferretti M (1998)
Potential and limitations of visual indices of tree condition. Chemosphere 36: 1031-1036.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ferretti M, Chiarucci A (2003)
Design concepts adopted in long-term forest monitoring programs in Europe - problems for the future? The Science of the Total Environment 310: 171-178.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Fischer R, De Vries W, Barros M., Van Dobben H., Dobbertin M., Gregor HD, Larsson TB, Lorenz M, Mues V, Nagel HD, Neville P, Sanchez-Pena G, De Zwart D (2002)
The condition of forests in Europe, 2002 executive report. UN/ECE, Geneva, Brussels, Belgium.
Fischer R, De Vries W, Beuker E, Calatayud V, Fürst A, Häberle K-H, Haußmann T, Karnosky DF, Krause GHM, Gundersen P, Lorenz M, Luyssaert S, Matyssek R, Mayer F-J, Meining S, Mues V, Neville P, Percy KE, Posch M, Preuhsler T, Raitio H, Reinds GJ, Renaud JP, Sanz MJ, Schulze ED, Vel E (2003)
Forest condition in Europe, executive report. UNECE/EC, Geneva, Brussels.
Fischer R, Mues V, Becher G, Lorenz M. (2007)
Monitoring of atmospheric deposition in European forests and an overview on its implication on forest condition. Applied Geochemistry 22: 1129-1139.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Hüttl R (1998)
Neuartige Waldschäden. In: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol. 5, pp. 131-215.
Hüttl RFJ, Schneider U, Bend O (2009)
Long-term ecosystem research: why monitoring is so important. In: “Long-term ecosystem research: understanding the present to shape the future” (Kaennel Dobbertin M ed). Zurich (Switzerland), 7-11 Sept 2009.
Innes JL (1992)
Forest decline. Progress in Physical Geography 16: 1-64.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Innes JL (1993)
Forest health: its assessment and status. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, Wallingford, CT, USA.
Kandler O (1994)
Vierzehn Jahre Waldschadensdiskussion - Szenarien und Fakten. Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau 11: 419-430.
Kandler O, Innes JL (1995)
Air pollution and forest decline in central Europe. Environmental Pollution 90: 171-180.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Klap J, Oude Voshaar J, De Vries W, Erisman J (2000)
Effects of environmental stress on forest crown condition in Europe. Part IV. Statistical analysis of relationships. Water Air and Soil Pollution 119: 387-420.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Lorenz M, Mues V, Becher G, Fischer R, Luyssaert S, Raitio H, Fürst A, Langouche D (2003)
Forest condition in Europe. 2003 Technical Report. UNECE/EC, Geneva, Brussels, Belgium.
Rehfuess KE (1990)
Übersicht über den Stand der Waldschadensforschung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung bodenkundlicher Forschungsansätze. In: Die Entwicklung der Waldschäden (Weiß J-P ed). Wilhelm-Münker-Stiftung, Siegen, 30: 36-60.
Schäfer R, Metzger B (2009)
Was macht eigentlich das Waldsterben? In: “Umweltgeschichte und Umweltzukunft - Zur gesellschaftlichen Relevanz einer jungen Disziplin” (Masius P, Sparenberg O, Sprenger J eds). Graduiertenkolleg Interdisziplinäre Umweltgeschichte, Universitätsverlag Göttingen, Germany.
Seidling W (2001)
Integrative studies on forest ecosystem conditions. Multivariate evaluations on tree crown condition for two areas with distinct deposition gradients. UNECE/EC, Geneva, Brussels.
Solberg S, Tørseth K (1997)
Crown condition of Norway spruce in relation to sulphur and nitrogen deposition and soil properties in southeast Norway. Environmental Pollution 96: 19-27 -.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ulrich B, Matzner E (1983)
Ökosystemare Wirkungsketten beim Wald- und Baumsterben. Forst- und Holzwirt 38: 468-474.
Ulrich B (1995)
The history and possible causes of forest decline in central Europe, with particular attention to the German situation. Environmental Reviews 3: 262-276.
Online | Gscholar
Wentzel KF (1982)
Ursachen des Waldsterbens in Mitteleuropa. Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift 45: 1365-1368.
Wiersma GB (2004)
Environmental monitoring. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info