The current levels of pollutant emissions in the European Union pose risks to human health and ecosystems, as well as exposing member countries to the risk of infringement and the payment of heavy penalties.

To address this emergency, the European Directive 2016/2284 (NEC Directive) was issued, which establishes commitments to reduce air emissions of pollutants associated with human activities, through a system of monitoring and reporting of the data collected.

Moreover, Member States are required to monitor the adverse impacts of air pollution on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The current Italian monitoring network consists of.4 freshwater sites and 6 forest sites.

It is in this context that the project LIFE MODERn (NEC) – New Monitoring System to detect the effects of the reduction of pollutant emissions resulting from the adoption of the NEC Directive – was born with the aim of improving the system of evaluation of the impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest and freshwater ecosystems in Italy.


There are many activities planned by the project that will affect different stakeholders:

1) select at least 4 new sites in forest environment and 6 new freshwater sites to be included in the Italian NEC network;

2) increase the set of indicators for the study of air pollution impacts on ecosystems;

3) test new and existing indicators in the selected monitoring sites;

4) train, through seminars and field activities, the operators in charge of monitoring the sites;

5) establish a permanent working group composed of the project partners and a representative of the Ministry of Ecological Transition to update the NEC Italy network and evaluate its effectiveness;

6) promote a national awareness campaign aimed at the public and the various stakeholders on the need to adopt concrete measures and individual behaviors to help improve air quality.