#ICOScapes - Castelporziano 2

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Location: Presidential Estate of Castelporziano, Italy
Type: Ecosystem measurements
Site type: Evergreen Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) forest, native to the Mediterranean region
Fluxes measured by ICOS: Carbon dioxide (CO2)

The ICOS Castelporziano 2 station is located in the heart of what was once an ancient Roman Empire. In fact, one can still see parts of the Roman bricks scattered on the base of the station. Today, the area is a well-preserved nature reserve and part of the Italian Presidential Estate, as well as an important cultural heritage site in Italy.

The station is one of the southernmost ICOS stations within Europe, and is being severely threatened by climate change.

The nature reserve at Castelporziano is covered with holm oak forest, which is one of the most relevant types of ecosystems in the lower Mediterranean areas. ICOS observations at the reserve help us understand how this type of forest is behaving in response to changes caused by rising temperatures.

In addition, the station’s closeness to the centre of Rome gives a better understanding of complex interactions between the urban environment and the plants; especially the exchange of carbon dioxide which is the main pollutant warming the globe. Other gases are also measured to see how the trees affect local air quality through gas exchange with the atmosphere.

ICOS Castelporziano 2 is part of the ICOS Ecosystem Network, which is working towards understanding the processes behind the exchange of energy and greenhouse gases between the ecosystems and the atmosphere. In Castelporziano, ICOS is measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes, which is the primary greenhouse gas contributing to the increase in the global temperature of the Earth.