In 1987, the International Cooperative Programme on Effects of Air Pollution on Natural Vegetation and Crops (ICP Vegetation, formerly ICP Crops) was established to consider the underlying science for quantifying damage to plants by ozone and other air pollutants. In 2001, the ICP Vegetation expanded its research area to included heavy metal deposition from the atmosphere. The programme took over responsibility for coordinating the European heavy metals biomonitoring network using mosses (‘European Heavy Metals in Mosses Survey’) from the Nordic Working Group on Monitoring Data, Nordic Council of Ministers.

Since 2005, the nitrogen concentration in mosses was also included and in 2010, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were included for the first time in selected countries. Since 2014, coordination of the moss survey is led by Dr Marina Frontasyeva of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Russian Federation.

The ICP Vegetation also synthesises information on the impacts of nitrogen–based pollutants on vegetation.Over 200 scientists from ca. 50 countries participate in the ICP Vegetation Programme. Participants meet each year at a Task Force Meeting to discuss recent results and the future development of the programme.


The programme is part of the activities of the Working Group on Effects (WGE) under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) which covers the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) region of Europe and North-America. The ICP Vegetation has also established links with countries outside the ECE region, for example in Asia and Africa. In 2017, the ICP Vegetation established ICP Vegetation-Asia, a network initially focussing on the impacts of ozone on crops; the network is led by Prof. Kim Oanh of the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.

The ICP Vegetation is one of seven ICPs and Task Forces investigating effects of air pollutants on waters, materials, forests, ecosystems, health, and mapping their effects in the ECE region. International cooperation to control emission and formation of air pollution is strengthened by the LRTAP Convention. Its Protocols commit countries to reducing pollutant emissions by specific target years. Results from the ICPs and Task Forces are used in both the development of these Protocols, and in monitoring their success in reducing the impacts of air pollutants on health and the environment.