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

By Carly J. Stevens, Cecilia Duprè, Edu Dorland, Cassandre Gaudnik, David J.G. Gowing, Albert Bleeker, Martin Diekmann, Didier Alard, Roland Bobbink, David Fowler, Emmanuel Corcket, J. Owen Mountford, Vigdis Vandvik, Per Arild Aarrestad, Serge Muller and Nancy B Dise


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.\u

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.11.026
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