Environmental Management

, 48:885

Addressing the Impact of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on Western European Grasslands

Authors

    • Department of Life SciencesThe Open University
    • Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster University
  • D. J. G. Gowing
    • Department of Life SciencesThe Open University
  • K. A. Wotherspoon
    • Department of Life SciencesThe Open University
  • D. Alard
    • University of Bordeaux, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities
  • P. A. Aarrestad
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • A. Bleeker
    • Department of Air Quality & Climate ChangeEnergy Research Centre of the Netherlands
  • R. Bobbink
    • B-WARE Research CentreRadboud University
  • M. Diekmann
    • Institute of Ecology, FB 2University of Bremen
  • N. B. Dise
    • Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceManchester Metropolitan University
  • C. Duprè
    • Institute of Ecology, FB 2University of Bremen
  • E. Dorland
    • Ecology and Biodiversity GroupUtrecht University
    • KWR Watercycle Research Institute
  • C. Gaudnik
    • University of Bordeaux, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities
  • S. Rotthier
    • Ecology and Biodiversity GroupUtrecht University
  • M. B. Soons
    • Ecology and Biodiversity GroupUtrecht University
  • E. Corcket
    • University of Bordeaux, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9745-x

Cite this article as:
Stevens, C.J., Gowing, D.J.G., Wotherspoon, K.A. et al. Environmental Management (2011) 48: 885. doi:10.1007/s00267-011-9745-x

Abstract

There is a growing evidence base demonstrating that atmospheric nitrogen deposition presents a threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function in acid grasslands in Western Europe. Here, we report the findings of a workshop held for European policy makers to assess the perceived importance of reactive nitrogen deposition for grassland conservation, identify areas for policy development in Europe and assess the potential for managing and mitigating the impacts of nitrogen deposition. The importance of nitrogen as a pollutant is already recognized in European legislation, but there is little emphasis in policy on the evaluation of changes in biodiversity due to nitrogen. We assess the potential value of using typical species, as defined in the European Union Habitats Directive, for determining the impact of nitrogen deposition on acid grasslands. Although some species could potentially be used as indicators of nitrogen deposition, many of the typical species do not respond strongly to nitrogen deposition and are unlikely to be useful for identifying impact on an individual site. We also discuss potential mitigation measures and novel ways in which emissions from agriculture could be reduced.

Keywords

Acid grasslandsBiodiversityConvention on long-range transboundary air pollution (CLRTAP)Nitrogen depositionSpecies-rich Nardus grassland

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011