Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 45–72

Forest Health Assessment and Monitoring – Issues for Consideration

  • Marco Ferretti

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005748702893

Cite this article as:
Ferretti, M. Environ Monit Assess (1997) 48: 45. doi:10.1023/A:1005748702893


Part of this paper has been prepared for the lecture Forest Health Assessment-Criteria,Methods and Problems given by the author at the UIMPuniversity course Sanidad Forestal en el Bosques Mediterraneos yTemplados. Implicacion de la Contaminacion Atmosferica y del Cambio Global, held in Valencia, Spain, October, 1995.

Assessment and monitoring of forest health representsa key point for environmental policy and for the management ofenvironmental resources. With the renewed interest in assessment andmonitoring of forest health generated by the suspected occurrence ofa widespread forest decline in Europe and North America, manyactivities have been undertaken: however, some questions should beconsidered and clarified when attempting to estimate forest health.Particularly, the objective(s) of the assessment and monitoringprogram should be carefully identified. Identification of a program‘stask has a number of implications and consequences: it implies adefinition of what concept of forest health (forest ecosystem health,forest health or forest trees health?) is assumed, what will be thetarget entity to be monitored, and therefore the identification of therelevant assessment questions and assessment endpoints.Consequences concern the definition of the spatial scale (frominternational to landscape and plot scale monitoring) and ecologicalcoverage (from single species population to population ofecosystems) of the program, which can have a considerable influenceon the choice of the proper sampling strategy and tactic, as well ason the most suitable methods, indicators and indices to be used.Although much of the work in the field of forest health and airpollution has concentrated on surveys on crown transparency anddiscoloration, there is an entire range of methods, indicators andindices developed to assess the health status of forests. The decisionas to which ones should be used will depend on the aim of theprogram and on economic and practical considerations. A furtherconsideration concerns the time span of the program, but anydecision in this field is subject to many limitations due to difficultiesin predicting future monitoring needs. All these points should becarefully considered and implemented according to a rigorousQuality Assurance procedure since any decision will influence futurework for many years.

forest health indicators indices monitoring requirements strategies 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Ferretti
    • 1
  1. 1.LINNAEA ambiente SrlFirenzeItaly

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