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Bioindicators of enhanced nitrogen deposition

By C E R Pitcairn, D. Fowler, I. D. Leith, L. J. Sheppard, M. A. Sutton, V Kennedy and E Okello


Increased deposition of atmospheric N largely from intensive agriculture is affecting biodiversity and the composition of natural and semi-natural vegetation in Europe. The value of species based bioindicators such as the Ellenberg N index and measurements of total tissue N and free amino acids in key plant species, is described with reference to a mixed woodland downwind of a livestock farm in the Scottish Borders, operated for over 20 years with a measured spatial gradient of ammonia concentration (29–1.5 mg m3). All the indicators examined showed a relationship with N deposition and provided some indication of vegetation change.\ud Total tissue N and arginine concentrations were most closely linked with ammonia concentrations and N deposition, with r2 values of >0.97 and >0.78 respectively

Topics: Ecology and Environment, Atmospheric Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S0269-7491(03)00248-3
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