National Ecosystems Monitoring Network (NEMN)

The revision to the National Emission reduction Commitments Directive (NEC Directive 2016/2284) in 2016 requires the establishment of national networks in order to measure, track and assess the impacts of air pollutants on natural and semi-natural habitats.

Under the directive, EU member states are required to monitor (Article 9) and report (Article 10.4) air pollution pressures and impacts on ecosystems that are representative of each country’s freshwater, forest, natural and semi-natural habitats. Impacts include acidification and eutrophication of both freshwaters and terrestrial ecosystems (forests, semi-natural grasslands, heathlands and bogs). It also considers ozone damage to terrestrial ecosystems.

In response to this requirement, Ireland developed the National Ecosystems Monitoring Network (NEMN) in 2018, with the first initial data submission made to the EEA/European Commission on 1st July 2019.

Since then the EPA has worked on expanding the network. It commissioned a report entitled ‘National Ecosystem Monitoring Network (NEMN)-Design: Monitoring Air Pollution Impacts across Sensitive Ecosystems (“NEMN Design Report”)’. This NEMN Design Report proposes air quality monitoring and ecosystem surveys, as well as sites for inclusion in the network to provide representative coverage across sensitive habitat types and major air pollution gradients. The EPA is now in the process of establishing the updated Network, based on the guidance and recommendations included in the NEMN Design Report.

The NEMN design report is available here

National Ecosystems Monitoring Network

In accordance with the directive a second data submission covering the identification of sites and parameters monitored through the network was submitted to the European Commission on the 1st July 2022. The submission made to the EEA/European commission can be found here.

A summary of the number of sites now in the network is provided below;

  • Level 1 sites* (Ecological Surveys) - 37 forest, 17 freshwater, 15 raised bog, 15 blanket bog/heathland, 15 calcareous grassland, 15 Molinia
  • Level 2 sites* (Ecological Surveys and Atmospheric Monitoring that includes ammonia) - 2 forest, 4 freshwater, 1 raised bog, 1 blanket bog/heathland/Molinia meadow, 1 calcareous grassland

* Some terrestrial ecosystem sites cover more than one habitat type listed and are hence not double counted in total number of sites (113).

The network will be expanded further in the coming years as outlined in the NEMN Design Report.

Prior to the establishment of any Level 2 sites for atmospheric monitoring the Agency will carry out an appropriate assessment screening, a determination of which can be found on our dedicated page here.