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Climate change and pollutant impacts on Scottish vegetation

By M.G.R. Cannell, D. Fowler and C.E.R. Pitcairn

Abstract

By the 2050’s the UK is projected to be about 1.6°C warmer, when the atmospheric CO2 concentration will be 525 ppmv. These changes will have profound effects on the Scottish flora and fauna. Vegetation primary productivity will increase, except in dry regions, and the productivity of upland forest plantations may increase by several Yield Classes. The spread of plant species may be less than expected, but a number of slow-growing ‘stress-tolerant’ species, including montane/alpine species, are likely to be lost. Nitrogen deposited as a result of emission of NOx from vehicles and NH3 from agriculture is now a major source of acidity, and problems of acidification and eutrophication are linked. Despite reductions in sulphur emissions, critical loads of acid deposition are likely to be exceeded for soils in most of the Scottish uplands until at least 2005. Critical levels affecting tree growth may be exceeded where forests are in cloud for 10% of the time in areas of the Great Glen. Much of the Scottish uplands receives 25-30kg N ha-1 yr-1, which may be causing change in species composition. Background tropospheric ozone concentrations are increasing. Much of the Scottish uplands experiences mean summer ozone concentrations exceeding those in southern England, but with fewer exceedances of critical levels. However, many crops and some sensitive native species are probably being adversely affected

Topics: Ecology and Environment, Atmospheric Sciences
Year: 1997
DOI identifier: 10.1080/03746609708684875
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:3853
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