A new flux-orientated concept to derive critical levels for ozone to protect vegetation.
ABSTRACT The current European critical levels for ozone (O3) to protect crops, natural and semi-natural vegetation and forest trees are based on a relative small number of open-top chamber experiments with a very limited number of plant species. Therefore, the working group "Effects of Ozone on Plants" of the Commission on Air Pollution Prevention of the Association of German Engineers and the German Institute of Standardization reanalysed the literature on O3 effects on European plant species published between 1989 and 1999. An exposure-response relationship for wild plant species and agricultural crops could be derived from 30 experiments with more than 30 species and 90 data points; the relationship for conifer and deciduous trees is based on 20 experiments with nine species and 50 data points. From these relationships maximum O3 concentrations for different risk stages are deduced, below which the vegetation type is protected on the basis of the respective criteria. Because it is assumed that the fumigation concentrations reflect the O3 concentrations at the top of the canopy, i.e. the upper surface boundary of the quasi-laminar layer if the micrometeorological big-leaf approach is applied, the application of these maximum O3 concentrations requires the transformation of O3 concentrations measured at a reference height above the canopy to the effective phytotoxic concentrations at the top of the canopy. Thus, the approach described in this paper is a synthesis of the classical concept of toxicology of air pollutants (critical concentrations) and the more toxicological relevant dose concept.