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The impact of nitrogen deposition on acid grasslands in the Atlantic region of Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • Carly Stevens
  • C. Dupre
  • E. Dorland
  • C. Gaudnik
  • D. J. G. Gowing
  • A. Bleeker
  • M. Diekmann
  • D. Alard
  • R. Bobbink
  • D. Fowler
  • E. Corcket
  • J.O. Mountford
  • V. Vandvik
  • P.A. Aarrestad
  • S. Muller
  • N. B. Dise
Journal publication date2011
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Journal number10
Volume159
Number of pages8
Pages2243-2250
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

A survey of 153 acid grasslands from the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is changing plant species composition and soil and plant-tissue chemistry. Across the deposition gradient (2–44 kg N ha−1 yr−1) grass richness as a proportion of total species richness increased whereas forb richness decreased. Soil C:N ratio increased, but soil extractable nitrate and ammonium concentrations did not show any relationship with nitrogen deposition. The above-ground tissue nitrogen contents of three plant species were examined: Agrostis capillaris (grass), Galium saxatile (forb) and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (bryophyte). The tissue nitrogen content of neither vascular plant species showed any relationship with nitrogen deposition, but there was a weak positive relationship between R. squarrosus nitrogen content and nitrogen deposition. None of the species showed strong relationships between above-ground tissue N:P or C:N and nitrogen deposition, indicating that they are not good indicators of deposition rate.