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ECN publication
Nitrogen deposition threatens species richness of grasslands across Europe
Stevens, C.J.; Duprè, C.; Dorland, E.; Gaudnik, C.; Gowing, D.J.G.; Bleeker, A.; Diekmann, M.; Alard, D.; Bobbink, R.; Fowler, D.; Corcket, E.; Mountford, J.O.; Vandvik, V.; Aarrestad, P.A.; Muller, S.; Dise, N.B.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass, Coal and Environmental Research 14-12-2010
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-W--10-062 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Published in: Environmental Pollution (), , 2010, Vol.158, p.2940 -2945.

Evidence from an international survey in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is reducing plant species richness in acid grasslands. Across the deposition gradient in this region (2e44 kg N ha_1 yr_1) species richness showed a curvilinear response, with greatest reductions in species richness when deposition increased from low levels. This has important implications for conservation policies, suggesting that to protect the most sensitive grasslands resources should be focussed where deposition is currently low. Soil pH is also an important driver of species richness indicating that the acidifying effect of nitrogen deposition may be contributing to species richness reductions. The results of this survey suggest that the impacts of nitrogen deposition can be observed over a large geographical range.

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