About ICP IM

Last changed: 18 March 2022

Integrated Monitoring (ICP IM) is an effect-oriented multi-disciplinary environmental monitoring programme to assess effects on ecosystems from air pollution, under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). The programme conducts long-term simultaneous measurements of physical, chemical, and biological properties at permanent monitoring sites with catchment budgets and fluxes as one main aim. The ICP IM sites are mainly forested catchments located in natural or semi-natural areas.

The programme belongs to a group of six specialist ICPs which have been set up under the CLRTAP Working Group on Effects (WGE) to examine relevant receptors and environmental issues.

From 2022, ICP IM will be extending the programme to include less intensive long-term monitoring at a greater number of sites, in a wider variety of ecosystems. We are inviting new and existing sites to become part of the IM programme, utilise our monitoring protocols and contribute to the international database.

Information about the Extended IM programme.

A conceptual scheme of a catchment ecosystem showing the main components and processes which are the objects of integrated monitoring.

Aims of ICP IM

The overall aim of integrated monitoring is to establish consistent time series of environmental variables at a number of well-studied sites. Implementation of the Programme provides a major contribution to the international data requirements for examining the ecosystem impacts of climatic change, changes in biodiversity and depletion of stratospheric ozone. A primary concern is the provision of scientific and statistically reliable data that can be used in modelling and decision making rather than establishing representative surveys across the UNECE region.

ICP IM was originally to determine and predict the state and change of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in a long-term perspective with respect to the impact of air pollutants, especially nitrogen and sulphur. This was to provide a basis for decisions on emission controls and assessment of the ecological impact of such controls within the UNECE CLRTAP. Full implementation of the IM Programme allows the ecological effects of inter alia tropospheric ozone, heavy metals and persistent organic substances to be determined.

The aims are fulfilled by:

  • monitoring both biogeochemical trends and biological responses in small (10 - 1000 ha) clearly defined catchments,
  • seeking to separate the noise of natural variation, including succession, from the signal of anthropogenic disturbance by monitoring natural or semi-natural ecosystems,
  • developing and applying tools, e.g. models, for regional assessment and prediction of long-term effects.

Implementation of the IM Programme by individual countries will fulfil many of the obligations of those countries to undertake impact studies. Not only under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, but for example also under the Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the EU National Emission Ceiling Directive.