Further development and implementation of an EU-level Forest Monitoring System

FutMon project is co-ordinated by the TI Hamburg (Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute). In total 38 contributors of 24 EU member states participate. Total budget of the project is 34.44 mil Euro. Contribution of the Life+ EU is 16.14 mil Euro, the rest being financed by the national organs of individual participating countries. The goals solved in the project are structured in 9 groups and include 246 actions. More on FutMon project site.


Systematic monitoring (action L1) of the forest health state is done within 4300 plots in Europe; it will be further developed in close connection to the NIL network. Intensive monitoring (IM1) is done in 250 plots, besides crown condition and growth it includes investigation of meteorological parameters, air condition, deposition, soil condition, ground vegetation and leaf analyses. Some other parameters are assessed within demonstration projects D1 – Tree vitality and adaptation, D2 – Nutrient cycling and critical loads, and D3 – Water balance.

Development and optimization of existing monitoring methods are the main expected results of the revised system of monitoring plots. The project uses the newest technical equipment, defines and applies more precise methods of investigation, and thus better and more effective data collection.

Complex analyses of existing data are focused to

  • carbon sinks in forests
  • forest soil conditions
  • critical loads , their exceeding and effect on biodiversity
  • dynamic modelling of the effect of air pollution and climate changes (water availability, dryness) on the forest stands


Creation of large scale representative grid of systematic monitoring is the main goal of the L1 action. In the Czech republic 146 plots are included in this network. Forest health state and its development are monitored within the plots. Detailed crown condition assessment is done every each in each plot, individual types of damage and harmful agents are specified. Coding by the ICP Forests Manual is used.


Aim of the IM1 action of the FutMon programme is to select at international level, and equip completely so called „core plots“of intensive monitoring. These are the plots, where all parameters of intensive monitoring will be monitored – i.e. also parameters which are obligatory only in limited number of plots under the ICP Forests programme. Investigation in the IM1 plots gives basic data also for the D1 – D3 actions.
Number of IM1 plots in individual countries is derived of the number of plots of systematic network, i.e. secondarily of the area and forestation of individual countries. In total 337 plots in European countries is included, in CR it is 14 plots of intensive monitoring.
Action IM1 binds on the system of „Intensive monitoring of the forest ecosystems“ introduced since 1994 within the ICP Forests programme. Involving of the Intensive monitoring programme was a natural reaction to the fact, that systematic forest monitoring according to the unique method, done within Europe since 1986, gave general information on the health state of the forest stands, but to analyse the cause which affects it in individual regions was not possible in sufficient level. Primary goal of intensive monitoring was, in selected number of plots; give more detailed information on the forest state, and natural and anthropogenic factors of the environment.
Since the very beginning, among „obligatory parameters“ of intensive monitoring was more detailed crown condition assessment, soil analyses in 10 year interval, chemical analyses of assimilation organs in 2 year intervals, phytocenology assessment of ground vegetation and growth measurement in 5 year intervals. Further also deposition was evaluated – in open plot (bulk), and in the forest stand (througfall), and meteorological parameters. These activities are very expensive, that is why they were obligatory only in 10% of total number of the monitoring plots. During the first years of investigation some other activities were included, mostly characterized as voluntary, or obligatory only at 10% of the plots: soil solution chemistry, air pollution load, phenological observation, litterfall.
In the Czech Republic, intensive monitoring was initiated at 8 localities, other regions were completed gradually. The last reconstruction of the network was done in 2003 – 2004, in connection to the ES 2152/2003 Forest Focus Regulation, and to the National Forestry programme, adopted by the Government of CR as 53/2003. Since 2004 assessment id done in 16 plots.


Aim of the D1 action is to state the key indicators of monitoring of vitality in natural forests in Europe. The goal is to have reliable and effective integrated monitoring of vitality within the intensive monitoring plots, and to give a base of development of the indicators to be applied in the systematic network. Under FutMon an integrated concept of vitality assessment is applied. Besides traditional parameters of defoliation and discoloration, other indicators are included survival (surviving trees, mortality level), function of the stand (e.g. growth and regeneration, carbon allocation), and resistance against stress (e.g. sensitivity to changes, adaptability, competition to neighbouring trees). Investigation within D1 action is done in 4 selected plots of intensive monitoring in CR:

  • I 140 Želivka (Central Bohemian Hillside region)
  • Q 061 Benešovice (Western Bohemian Hillside region)
  • Q 103 Všeteč (Central Bohemian Hillside region)
  • Q 521 Lazy (Karlovy Vary Hillside region)

Following parameters are assessed: visual assessment of crown condition, tree growth, litterfall, phenology, measuring of leaf area index (LAI).


Aim of D2 action is to work-out the methods of monitoring of nutrient cycling and critical loads in forest ecosystems. Monitoring includes substance input in deposition, up-take by tree species and other plants, output in litterfall and elution of the soil environment. In total 195 plots of intensive monitoring, in 19 participating countries, were included in the D2 project. They are plots with monitoring of all parameters (IM1), completed with some other activities – investigation of the amount and chemical characteristics of litterfall, more intensive sampling of assimilation organs (analysis of 4 needle year classes of conifers), evaluation of biomass and nutrient supply in ground vegetation.
In CR, in total 10 plots of intensive monitoring were included in the project D2 – „Nutrient cycling and critical loads“ in the period of 2009-2010: Lásenice, Všeteč, Želivka, Nová Brtnice, Medlovice, Klepačka, Luisino údolí, Mísečky, Benešovice a Lazy.


Action D3 is focused on hydrological functions of forests. In the Czech Republic it is done in 10 plots of intensive monitoring, In European countries it is in 146 plots. The aim is to bring basic data for development of the models of water balance of the forest ecosystems, with the use of data of IM plots. This part of the project, contrarily to the above described, is focused only to initiating of the measurement of selected parameters and data collection, as within a short period of the FutMon project it is not possible to evaluate complete results. This will be done in following activities.
Availability of soil moisture affects decisively tree vitality and the state of forest stands in general. Stating of water balance of the forest ecosystems is also a basic step in understanding of other important physiological processes as nutrient uptake, growth and reaction of tree species on stress factors of biotic and a-biotic character. Up to date programme of intensive monitoring under ICP Forests had included significant part of the input data, needed for modelling of water balance, same as on the response in the health state of forest stands.
Aim of the D3 action was to unify and complete measurement necessary for testing and further application of the models on water balance in the wide spectrum of the forests ecosystems in Europe. Input data include mainly meteorological data, evaluation of soil water, phenological observations growth assessment, biotic damage, and assessment of tree species health state. D3 plots are based on the fully equipped IM1 plots, some activities closely binds on D1 (diameter growth, phenology, LAI), and D2 activities (soil solution chemistry), and they are further completed with evaluation and measuring of special parameters: soil temperature, soil moisture volume and soil water potential, stating of the retention curves of forest soils, evaluation of througfall precipitation.


Detailed information on activities under the FutMon Project and the results are presented in:
Development of forest health state monitoring under Life+ “FutMon Project” in CR.
You can download the pdf file  (1,8MB).

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