In Austria, chemical plant analyses to determine the air pollution impact was first used around the turn of the century. From 1955 to 1980 some 7 % of the forested areas in the neighborhood of industrial facilities were analyzed. In 1975 chemical plant analysis was laid down in the Forest Act as a tool to determine air pollution impact. The Second Ordinance against Forest-Damaging Air Pollutants (1984) stipulates air quality limit values.
By regulating plant analyses by law, which is unparalleled in Europe, it was possible to actually enforce plant analysis.
Today, plant analyses provide basic information for forest-related expert opinions to support Provincial Forest Authorities in the course of legal actions in accordance with the Mining Act, the Waste Management Act and the Industrial Law including Environmental Impact Assessment.
Austria participates in the pan-European Forest condition monitoring program ICP-FORESTS. On the intensive monitoring plots deposition of air pollutants, element fluxes and nutrient cycling is monitored. For these purpose chemical analyses of deposition (rain, snow), litterfall, ground vegetation, needles and leaves and passive samplers (ozone) are performed.
Priority Areas of Work
- Austria-wide monitoring programme (Austrian Bio-indicator Grid) for the assessment of the spatial and temporal variation of air pollution impacts and nutrient supply
- Processing of data for BIN-online (the Bio-indicator Grid internet database) Expert opinion to support Provincial Forest Authorities during legal actions in accordance with the Mining Act, the Waste Management Act and the Industrial Law including Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Chemical analyses of needle and leaf samples to determine nutrient status and element contents
- Advisory services in the field of biomonitoring and plant analysis (provincial authorities, industrial facilities, forest owners, civil engineers, Christmas tree breeders and individuals)
- Identification of heavily loaded areas by means of biomonitoring
- Management of a Web-driven database
- Measures to improve the quality of plant analyses at the European level (ring tests, support to participating laboratories, presentations)