BIPHOREP research proposal


All environmental pollutants have a life cycle going from sources or emissions through transport and transformation to deposition or accumulation in environmental media and ecosytems, whereby they induce impacts and detrimental effects. Most assessments of the environmental pressures due to human activities (eg. from various industry branches, transportation, agriculture etc), and of cost-effective emission abatement strategies are based on emittor-receptor relationships. These are strongly dependent on their starting point, ie. on accurate emission inventories, since the models themselves include high resolution meteorological and physico-chemical process parameterizations. However, figures on the spatial, temporal and phenological distribution of these BVOC emissions are widely lacking. Even the exact emission profiles are not known. Thus, the main objective of this proposal - to quantify biogenic VOC emissions from the boreal forests that cover about 9 % of global forest surfaces (but at least one third of European forests) - will constitute an important step in establishing sound, transparent and intercomparable emission inventories for the use of the scientific community and policy makers.

The 5th European Community Environmental Action Programme (5th EAP) listed various objectives, themes and tasks necessary for achieving EU targets in the field of the environment. This 5th EAP list climate change, acidification and air pollution as some of the priority themes deserving proper consideration with as a main target the reduction of major pollutants or precursors: NOx, VOCs, SOx, CO2 and CFCs. Among the horizontal measures, the 5th EAP identifies the improvement of base-line data, especially emission inventories, using regional and national environment statistics as one major target for the year 2000. The pan-European report of the state of the Environment prepared by the European Environment Agency (Stanners and Bourdeau, 1995) also designates emission inventories as one of the major information needs for sound environmental policy decisions.

Based on the improvement of these emission inventories, it will be possible to set up effective abatement strategies of VOC and NOx emissions in order to achieve lower ozone levels. The emission factors with their functional dependencies derived from this proposal will be also usable for other regions with similar vegetation and using local climatological data. From a more fundamental point of view, this project will allow for the first time to trace what compounds are emitted from a set of typical vegetation species in northern and northeastern Europe and how emission densities depend on external and internal parameters (climatology and phenology). Such results will have, for instance, an implication for the study of acidification in Europe by providing further knowledge on the sources of organic acids which contribute to acid deposition.

This proposal has both horizontal and vertical dimension. The combination of comprehensive field experiments with laboratory measurements and numerical modelling will allow to validate present canopy models, improve them and thus provide to the scientific community a better tool for other emission assessments. Our combination of a hierarchy of scales will allow to get new insight on the aggregation of emissions from the stomatal level to regional concentrations via the use of GIS-based emission modelling, and to test photochemical schemes used in current models.

At the global scale, results from this project could be used for photochemical modelling of trace species (emission inventories and modelling, ozone formation modelling, partitioning of carbon fluxes). Additionally, since we will also measure CO2 fluxes, it will be possible to relate BVOC emissions to the functioning of plants and thus to be able to derive scenarios for future emission and photosynthsis activities under changed climate conditions.

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