The 33rd ICP Vegetation Task Force Meeting was held from 27th – 30th January 2020 in Riga, Latvia. These annual meetings are a chance for ICP Vegetation participants to meet and present their latest research. Achievements over the past year, and also future plans are also discussed.
The meeting was organised this year by Dr Guntis Tabor and colleagues at the University of Latvia. On arrival in Riga on the Monday evening, we enjoyed a welcome reception at the very impressive university building, the House of Nature. This academic centre, built in 2015, houses the biology, chemistry and geography and earth sciences faculties of the university. It was the perfect setting for our meeting.
On the first full day of the meeting, there was a plenary session with a welcome address from the Deputy Director of the Latvian Department of Environmental Protection and the Dean of the Faculty of Biology at Latvia University. Harry Harmens (Chair of the ICP Vegetation) then gave an update on the achievements of the ICP Vegetation in 2019 and the future work plan, followed by an overview of the 2015 Moss Survey from Eiliv Steinnes and Marina Frontasyeva. After some further plenary talks of interest to both ozone and moss participants, there was a poster viewing session in the foyer of the building. The posters highlighted interesting new research for example, coastal wetland plant species as models in heavy metal and nitrogen accumulation studies and the response of the nutraceutical crop Amaranthus hypochondriacus to ozone stress.
After the poster session, there were two parallel sessions for the moss group and the ozone group for the rest of the day. Moss presentations included results on heavy metal concentrations in mosses in a wide variety of countries, data management and metrics and some preliminary results of the 2020-21 moss survey in the Moscow region.
Ozone presentations focused on ozone impacts on crops, the need to consider nitrogen and soil moisture when modelling ozone impacts and air pollution removal by urban trees. The group also discussed progress on the new chapters that will be added to Scientific Background Document B (https://icpvegetation.ceh.ac.uk/sites/default/files/ScientificBackgrounddocumentBNov17v2.pdf) This document contains supporting information for Chapter 3 of the Modelling and Mapping Manual, (https://icpvegetation.ceh.ac.uk/sites/default/files/FinalnewChapter3v4Oct2017_000.pdf) and includes information on developing areas of ozone research. New chapters include ‘Guidelines for assessing ozone-induced foliar damage on horticultural crops’; ‘Ozone impacts on insects’ and ‘Interactive impacts of ozone and nitrogen on crops.’
The weather in Riga was unseasonably mild (~ 1°C) so we were able to explore Riga city centre and enjoy some traditional Latvian food in the evening.