European project LIFE13 ENV/IT/000813 SMART4Action 01/09/2014 – 31/03/2018
“Sustainable Monitoring And Reporting To Inform Forest- and Environmental Awareness and Protection”
Forests cover more than 30% of the Italian territory. They represent a large sustainable economic resource and they offer invaluable ecosystem services, such as protecting mountain region from landslides, preserving biodiversity, stocking carbon dioxide.
In the last decades, forest growth and health has been affected by global changes, such as increasing temperature, changing precipitation regimes, high level of atmospheric ozone concentration and of nitrogen deposition. Such changes and their effects on forest ecosystem need to be monitored to allow an informed management.
For this reason, since 1997 the National Forest Corps coordinates monitoring networks covering Italian forests. LIFE SMART4Action intends to redesign forest monitoring and its information and reporting system, in order to ensure financial sustainability to forest monitoring, despite budget restrictions, whilst maintaining scientific reliability.
The project has two main goals: (i) design a new system to reduce the current annual costs by 30%, while recognizing the importance of national and regional statistics on key variables linked to sustainable forest management and ecosystem services; and (ii) to improve communication with, and data transfer to, relevant stakeholders and citizens through a participatory process.
The analysis of the available data series of forest monitoring data will permit to optimize the number of plots, the frequency and the distribution of the activities, to maximize the information, and identifying possible areas were monitoring and modeling can be fruitfully integrated.
To increase awareness about forest related issues and the importance of forest monitoring, SMART4Action will develop mechanisms to involve local people in plot management and basic monitoring for readily measurable variables, with local conferences and courses, synthetic result sheets at regional scale, and web-based and smartphone applications to obtain an active involvement of citizens.
Present and historical monitoring data will also be shared on-line using geospatial standard services.