Scientists and forest monitoring experts meet in Prague

The future health and stability of European forests is uncertain due to stressors such as climate change and air pollution. As part of the ICP Forests Task Force Meeting and FORECOMON conference, forest scientists and experts are currently in Prague to discuss opportunities and needs of future forest monitoring.

From 11 to 14 June, forest scientists and experts of the international forest monitoring program ICP Forests will meet in Prague, focussing on the monitoring of forest health, diversity and productivity. The week-long event is organized by the Forestry and Game Management Research Institute (FGMRI) in cooperation with ICP Forests Programme Coordinating Centre, under auspices of the Czech Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Marek Výborný, and Minister of Environment, Mr. Petr Hladík and with support of Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprise.

The ICP Forests program was established under the auspices of the UNECE back in 1985, almost forty years ago. At that time in the politically divided Europe there was a common concern about the health of forests, which was significantly affected by air pollution. In the course of the following decades the ICP Forests has developed into a unique program which uses internationally harmonized methods to evaluate the basic processes in forest ecosystems through 42 European countries.

The program starts with the FORECOMON scientific conference entitled “Monitoring for Future Forests” attended by 90 participants from 22 countries. The scientific conference is divided into two sections: the first is aimed on long-term effects of air pollution, drought or other extreme weather events on forest ecosystem processes; the second will deal with novel monitoring approaches to support the development of resilient forests. Among other topics the adverse effect of ozone and elevated nitrogen deposition, carbon sequestration in forest stands and forest soils, as well as the biodiversity of forest ecosystems are on the agenda.

Vít Šrámek, FGMRI director, comments the conference programme: “The presented papers and posters show how the ICP Forests program – originally focused solely on the impact of air pollution – has evolved into a multifunctional monitoring network that provides valuable long-term harmonized data on key topics currently discussed in connection with the development of forests in Europe”.

On Wednesday, 12 June, the focus will be on an issue that has affected many forest areas in Europe: the bark beetle. During an excursion the participants will visit recent extensive clearings caused by the bark beetle attacks in the area of ​​the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. They will learn about the methods applied by local foresters in cooperation with the Forestry and Game Management Research Institute for timely reforestation. The target of these activities is a transformation into species- and structurally diverse forests that will be resistant to climate change, ensure sufficient production as well as complex ecosystem functions including protection of biodiversity and carbon sequestration. In the future, it is planned to establish a demonstration area with examples of good practice for forest owners at the visited locality. The scientists and experts will also visit the Pekelský stream catchment, where the influence of forests on the course of runoff and water quality flowing into the Švihov water reservoir have been monitored since 1970´s.

On the last two days of the event the official delegates of the participating countries will meet at the 40th Task Force Meeting of ICP Forests.

As reported by Marco Ferretti, the ICP Forests chairman: “The programme builds on almost four decades of shared European expertise on forest monitoring and thus consolidates its pioneering position as a transnational collaboration that takes into account the development of forests, including their current and future challenges.

The most recent data and reports from individual expert panels will be discussed, and the possibilities of using innovative techniques in forest monitoring will be introduced. Traditionally, the results of cooperation with important international research initiatives and projects will be also presented.

Contacts: doc. Ing. Vít Šrámek, Ph.D., e-mail:, tel: 602 260 808; Ing. Monika Vejpustková, Ph.D., e-mail: vejpustková, tel: 608 117 83