Impact of nitrogen deposition on the species richness of grasslands

  • Stevens C
  • Dise N
  • Mountford J
 et al. 
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A transect of 68 acid grasslands across Great Britain, covering the lower range of ambient annual nitrogen deposition in the industrialized world (5 to 35 kg Nha-1 year-1), indicates that long-term, chronic nitrogen deposition has significantly reduced plant species richness. Species richness declines as a linear function of the rate of inorganic nitrogen deposition, with a reduction of one species per 4-m2 quadrat for every 2.5 kg Nha-1 year-1 of chronic nitrogen deposition. Species adapted to infertile conditions are systematically reduced at high nitrogen deposition. At the mean chronic nitrogen deposition rate of central Europe (17 kg Nha-1 year-1), there is a 23% species reduction compared with grasslands receiving the lowest levels of nitrogen deposition.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Air Pollution
  • Altitude
  • Atmosphere
  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon
  • Carbon: analysis
  • Ecosystem
  • Great Britain
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Nitrogen
  • Nitrogen: analysis
  • Plants
  • Plants: growth & development
  • Poaceae
  • Poaceae: growth & development
  • Soil
  • Soil: analysis
  • Temperature
  • Weather

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  • Carly J. Stevens

  • Nancy B. Dise

  • J. Owen Mountford

  • David J. G. Gowing

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