Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Forest health and ecosystem monitoring in Ireland, 2009 : FutMon Project, further development and implementation of an EU-Level forest monitoring system, project number LIFE07 ENV/D/000218
    (UCD Soil Science, University College Dublin and Coillte Research & Environment, 2011-02) ; ;
    This work aims to protect forests in Europe from effects of air pollution, and climate change, and to provide a basis for sustainable management of forest for multiple commercial and societal values. Monitoring of forest health and forest ecosystem processes reported here for 2009 was done under the EU Life+ FutMon Project Further Development and Implementation of an EU-Level Forest Monitoring System, project number LIFE07 ENV/D/000218. These studies extend a continuous series of projects at these sites since 1991, and related work begun in Ireland in 1988, of which the latest accessible report is Farrell and Boyle (2005). Reports for intervening years, 2003–2008 are in preparation. The monitoring procedures built on those in the previous projects and closely follow the ICP Manual (UN/ECE, 1998 and updates), while data reporting is in the formates specified by FutMon. FutMon surveys carried out in 2009, and reported here, are: visual assessment of crown condition and damaging agents; leaf-area-index measurements; air quality measurements; sampling and analysis of litterfall; sampling and analysis of deposition, and; sampling and analysis of soil-solution. The health status of the forests in Ireland is good. Level I plots were assessed between June and September 2009. The key indicator of that health status is defoliation, which has a mean value of 16% for the Level I network of thirty-two plots assessed here. Discolouration also shows low values, with a mean value of 0.61, averaged from values on a a scale of 0–4. This indicates that the central value for this survey is below 10% of crown discolouration, within the class of least damage. Leaf-area index measurements were done using hemispheric photographs. The values represent the ratio of green-leaf area to ground area, using upper-leaf area for broadleaves, and half of total-green area for needle-leaves. Leaf Area Index is lowest (2.11) for Brackloon, which is unmanaged, open-canopy semi-natural ancient oak, being much higher for the two productive spruce stands. The much higher values for the two spruce stands, around 6, are at the higher end of the range of LAI observed for boreal spruce forests. Air quality was assessed with Gradko passive samplers for ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and ozone (NH3, NO2, SO2 and O3). Ammonia levels were higher than in a comparable survey in 1999. Litterfall was collected, separated into fractions, and analysed for contents of nutrients and trace metals. Deposition, measured as precipitation, throughfall and stemflow, was collected and analysed weekly, and analysed for nutrient and other major elemental constituents. Soil-solution was also periodically sampled below the forest-floor organic horizon, and at two levels within the root-zone at two sites. Analysis demonstrates major elemental-turnover and redistribution processes at forest-ecosystem level, including dry-deposition onto foliage, foliar exchange, concentration by evaporation, interaction with soil organic matter, uptake by roots, effects of mineral weathering, and outputs to deep-soil water. These observations, combined with those throughout the twenty-year monitoring history, provide a basis for detecting change with external influences including major weather events, climate changes, specific deposition events, and also underpins investigation of the impact of novel management approaches, particularly whole-tree harvesting and more intensive recovery of harvest residues, as well as providing the means to assess exceedance of critical loads of acidity and of nutrient nitrogen. In combination, this monitoring provides the basis for ensuring forest health and the consequences of continued good health for forest-ecosystem services, and identifying change; for understanding the drivers of such change, including climate changes, and the effects of long-range transboundary air pollution; and for positive assessment of the effects of management decisions on sustainability.
  • Publication
    Agricultural atmospheric ammonia: identification & assessment of potential impacts
    (National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 2022-03-21) ; ; ; ;
    This Irish Wildlife Manual aims to summarise: The effects of emissions of ammonia from intensive agricultural sources and its deposition on biodiversity. The regulatory requirements for the assessment of these effects and the indicators of adverse effects including physical observations and theoretical limits used in modelling assessment. The approach recommended by the Irish EPA and approaches used in various European Countries that are currently used to assess and report on the potential effects of emissions of ammonia from agricultural development. A framework for high-level review of dispersion modelling assessment intended for non-expert users of dispersion models that details a non-technical basis to consider whether the critical components of a dispersion modelling study meet the requirements of dispersion modelling guidance issued by the Irish EPA.
  • Publication
    National Ecosystem Monitoring Network (NEMN)-Design: Monitoring Air Pollution Impacts across Sensitive Ecosystems
    Under the EC National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD 2016/2284), EU member states are required to monitor (Article 9) and report (Article 10.4) air pollution pressure and impacts on ecosystems that are representative of each country’s freshwater, forest, natural and semi-natural habitats. Ireland developed the National Ecosystem Monitoring Network (NEMN) in 2018, with the first data submission on 1st July 2019. In response to recommendations from the EC, Ireland is seeking to improve its NEMN. In this document, we propose methods for monitoring air quality and ecosystem parameters, and for selecting sites to be included in NEMN to improve representative coverage across sensitive habitat types and major pollution gradients. The air pollution impacts of interest are in the first instance those relating to the substances for which reduction commitments are set in Annex II to the NECD (i.e. SO2, NOX, NMVOC and NH3), that is those contributing to acidification and eutrophication of ecosystems, and as precursors of ozone damage to vegetation growth and biodiversity changes. The development of the NEMN is intended to be an iterative process, with incremental improvements over time. The existing network is composed of International Co-operative Programme (ICP) Forests and Waters sites operated under the Air Convention (UN-ECE CLRTAP) and Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), respectively. The existing network structure is based on that of ICP Forests, which is composed of two networks with different monitoring intensity, Level II and Level I.
  • Publication
    Soil respiration partitioning in afforested temperate peatlands
    (Springer Nature America, Inc, 2018-09-12) ; ;
    Understanding and quantifying soil respiration and its component fluxes are necessary to model global carbon cycling in a changing climate as small changes in soil CO2 fluxes could have important implications for future climatic conditions. A soil respiration partitioning study was conducted in eight afforested peatland sites in south-west Ireland. Using trenched points, annual soil CO2 emissions, and the contributions of root and heterotrophic respiration as components of total soil respiration, were estimated. Nonlinear regression models were evaluated to determine the best predictive soil respiration model for each component flux, using soil temperature and water table level as explanatory variables. Temporal variation in soil CO2 efflux was driven by soil temperature at 10 cm depth, with all treatment points also affected by water table level fluctuations. The effect of water table level on soil respiration was best accounted for by incorporating a water level Gaussian function into the soil-temperature–soil-respiration model. Mean root respiration was 44% of mean total soil respiration, varying between 1100 and 2049 g CO2 m−2 year−1. Heterotrophic respiration was divided between peat respiration and litter respiration, which accounted for 35 and 21% of total soil respiration, respectively. While peat respiration varied between 774 and 1492 g CO2 m−2 year−1, litter respiration varied between 514 and 1013 g CO2 m−2 year−1. Although the extrapolation of these results to other sites should be done with caution, the empirical models developed for the entire dataset in this study are a useful tool to predict and simulate CO2 emissions in similar afforested peatlands (e.g. pine and spruce plantations) in temperate maritime climate conditions.
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