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Comparison of the Effects of Wet N Deposition (NH_4Cl) and Dry N Deposition (NH_3) on UK Moorland Species

By Ian D. Leith, Lucy Sheppard, Carole E.R. Pitcairn, J. Neil Cape, PaulW. Hill, Valerie H. Kennedy, Y. Sim Tang, Ron I. Smith and David Fowler

Abstract

Increases in N deposition (wet and dry) have been associated with a decline in semi-natural plant communities, adapted for growth on nutrient poor soils in the UK and Europe. The impacts of N deposition applied as either wet NH_4^+ or gaseous NH_3 on vegetation (7 species) from acid moorland in SE Scotland were compared in a dose-response study. Wet N deposition at 0, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 kg N ha^−1 y^−1 was applied as NH_4Cl, and dry deposition as gaseous NH_3 (2, 6, 20, 50, 90 µg NH_3 m^−3) under controlled conditions in open-top chambers. A strong linear dose-response relationship (p<0.05) was found between foliar N content in all seven plant species and applied NH_4-N. However, in the NH_3 treatment, only C. vulgaris and P. commune showed a significant response to increasing N additions. NH_3 was found to increase the rate of water loss in Calluna in both autumn and winter by comparison with wet deposition. For Eriophorum vaginatum, the NH_3 and NH_4^+ treatments showed significant N dose response relationships for biomass. A significant increase in above ground biomass, proportional to the added N, was found for Narthecium ossifragum when N was applied as NH_3 compared to NH_4^+.\ud \u

Topics: Ecology and Environment, Atmospheric Sciences
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1023/A:1013960329208
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:3671
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