iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


A new database for time-series monitoring data: the NitroEurope approach

SM Owen (1)   , DS Leaver (1), WJ Bealey (1), R Wilson (2), S Reis (1), M Sutton (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 4, Issue 5, Pages 226-232 (2011)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0595-004
Published: Nov 03, 2011 - Copyright © 2011 SISEF

Technical Reports

Collection/Special Issue: COST Action FP0903 (2010) - Rome (Italy)
Research, monitoring and modelling in the study of climate change and air pollution impacts on forest ecosystems
Guest Editors: E Paoletti, J-P Tuovinen, N Clarke, G Matteucci, R Matyssek, G Wieser, R Fischer, P Cudlin, N Potocic

The NitroEurope Integrated Project (2006-2011) aimed to gain a better understanding of the nitrogen cycle and its impacts on the European greenhouse gas balance. Over sixty project partners collected large volumes of data from sites all over Europe. There are currently more than 15 forest sites in 11 countries, including beech, oak, spruce and mixed forests. The collected data are at different temporal resolutions, from one-off measurements to 30-minute time-series data. Around 500 variables (plus attributes) are measured, including soil and plant data, details of cultivation management for natural and manipulated sites, long-term datasets of flux and concentrations of greenhouse gas and pollutants and their precursors, and micrometeorology data. The NitroEurope research community therefore needed a database to provide easy upload and extraction of data for analysis, interpretation and modelling. A bespoke database with a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) in a user-friendly and attractive online environment was produced by the NitroEurope (NitroEurope 2011) database development team. The software provides a flexible interface between Microsoft Excel workbooks and an Oracle database. The database “Form Manager” enables construction of database forms which reflect the project’s Excel data workbook templates. The software locates data according to Excel worksheet and cell references. The database “Uploader” extracts the specified data from completed Excel templates and uploads data directly to the Oracle relational database tables through the web front-end. Data are run through a series of automatic checks on upload which can be verified using an online graphing tool. Data are then validated and made available to the NitroEurope community for downloading. The database “Reporting” tools enable data from different sites and activities to be brought together and datasets can be previewed and graphed before they are downloaded. The database has almost 300 users and currently contains over eight million rows of data. The data will be made available to the wider scientific community two years after the project ends (Spring 2013). The database structure is extremely flexible and has been used for the storage and reporting of other time-series project data at our institute.


Forest data, Greenhouse gas flux, Environmental data, Climate change, User-friendly on-line database

Authors’ address

SM Owen
DS Leaver
WJ Bealey
S Reis
M Sutton
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Edinburgh, EH26 0QB (UK)
R Wilson
Modality Solutions Ltd., Edinburgh (UK)

Corresponding author

SM Owen


Owen SM, Leaver DS, Bealey WJ, Wilson R, Reis S, Sutton M (2011). A new database for time-series monitoring data: the NitroEurope approach. iForest 4: 226-232. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0595-004

Paper history

Received: Jan 11, 2011
Accepted: Aug 12, 2011

First online: Nov 03, 2011
Publication Date: Nov 03, 2011
Publication Time: 2.77 months

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Assessment of the nitrogen and carbon budget of two managed temperate grassland fields. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 133 (3-4): 150-162.
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Guest Editor’s Introduction: Greenhouse gas exchange in European ecosystems and their interactions with nitrogen - results from NitroEurope IP. European Journal of Soil Science 61 (5): 627-630.
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Dry deposition of reactive nitrogen to European ecosystems: a comparison of inferential models across the NitroEurope network. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11 (6): 2703-2728.
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NitroEurope (2011)
Web portal “NitroEurope IP: The nitrogen cycle and its influence on the European greenhouse gas balance”
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Greenhouse gas emissions from European soils under different land use: effects of soil moisture and temperature. European Journal of Soil Science 61 (5): 683-696.
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Biosphere-atmosphere exchange of reactive nitrogen and greenhouse gases at the NitroEurope core flux measurement sites: Measurement strategy and first data sets. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 133 (3-4): 139-149.
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European scale application of atmospheric reactive nitrogen measurements in a low-cost approach to infer dry deposition fluxes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 133 (3-4): 183-195.
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