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The needs for various forms of information systems relating to the European environment and ecosystem are reviewed, and limitations indicated. Existing information systems are reviewed and compared in terms of aims and functionalities. We consider TWO technical challenges involved in attempting to develop an IEEICS. First, there is the challenge of developing an Internet-based communication system which allows fluent access to information stored in a range of distributed databases. Some of the currently available solutions are considered, i.e. Web service federations. The second main challenge arises from the fact that there is general intra-national heterogeneity in the definitions adopted, and the measurement systems used throughout the nations of Europe. Integrated strategies are needed.