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Status Report 2014

Modelling and Mapping the impacts of atmospheric deposition on plant species diversity in Europe.

The focus of this report is on progress made, by the ICP M&M, with the modelling and mapping of critical thresholds and dose-response relationships of air pollution effects on the diversity of plant species in Europe. The idea is to extend and complete the existing European critical loads database with critical thresholds for biodiversity, to meet the new requirements of the LRTAP Convention and the European Union for the support of European air pollution abatement policies, taking into account synergies with other international policy issues.

Chapter 1 describes the results of an assessment of the impacts of the emission reduction scenarios that have been developed and used in the context of recent European air pollution abatement policies, using data from the current European critical loads database held at the CCE. The area at risk of acidification in Europe improves from 6% (8% in Natura 2000 areas) in 2005 to 2% (2% in Natura 2000 areas) in 2020. For eutrophication these percentages are 63% (78% in Natura 2000 areas) and 55% (65% in Natura 2000 areas), respectively.The extension of ICP M&M work to include biodiversity endpoints more specifically was initiated in 2007 when the Executive Body agreed at its 25th session to encourage the Working Group on Effects ‘to increase its work on quantifying effects indicators, in particular for biodiversity. These should also be linked to the integrated assessment modelling activities’ (ECE/EB.AIR/91, para. 31). This was confirmed in the Long-term Strategy of the Convention till 2020, which ‘set a vision for the next 10 years and beyond to address the remaining issues from existing activities and to meet emerging challenges with the aim of delivering a sustainable optimal long-term balance between the effects of air pollution, climate change and biodiversity’ (ECE/EB.AIR/2010/4, para. 6a).In 2012 the Working Group on Effects decided that a Call for Data on ‘no net loss of biodiversity’ indicators be issued by the CCE with a deadline of March 2014 in order to assess tentative methodologies and national data that had been reviewed by the CCE and National Focal Centres under the ICP Modelling and Mapping at various yearly CCE workshops and Task Force meetings since 2007. The Call for Data also aimed at addressing the EU 2020 headline target of ‘halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2010, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss’ (EU1, 2011, p.12, Target 2, Action 7). Chapter 2 describes the result of this Call for Data on biodiversity indicators and calculations, to which ten countries responded. Seven of them applied dynamic modelling. Respondents to the call suggested that further technical and conceptual work was needed to arrive at a harmonised indicator of no net loss of biodiversity.Meanwhile, work continued on the identification of relationships between nitrogen-sulphur deposition and biodiversity response on a regional (EUNIS) scale with a focus on ‘areas of special protection’ such as Natura 2000 areas in the EU. An important goal is to derive a harmonised metric from the submitted variables and indicators with the objective of quantifying ‘no net loss of biodiversity’ on a regional scale. This harmonised metric would allow comparisons of the state of biodiversity between regions and countries. Finally, the indicator should be easily applicable to European policy support in the context of integrated assessment modelling and the GAINS system2. The progress made in the development of a new indicator, i.e. the Habitat Suitability (HS) index, includes the establishment of a link between modelled soil chemistry and the occurrence probability of plant species on a European scale. A description of the methodology and data for the implementation of the HS index on a European scale is provided in Chapters 3 and 4. A modelling methodology for the assessment of the HS index as a measure of the occurrence probability of plant species is introduced. Initial simulations with this model reveal the need to improve information on European natural vegetation and the list of desired species.



Modelling and Mapping the impacts of atmosperic deposition on plant species diversity in Europe (pdf, 28mb)

Author(s) Slootweg J, Posch M, Hettelingh J-P, Mathijssen L (eds)
Report no.


Publication date February 2015
ISBN 978-90-6960-276-9
Pages 160
Language English