Chapter

Nitrogen Deposition, Critical Loads and Biodiversity

pp 465-480

Date:

The Effects of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity

  • Jill S. BaronAffiliated withUS Geological Survey, Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University Email author 
  • , Mary BarberAffiliated withRTI International
  • , Mark AdamsAffiliated withFaculty of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources (FAFNR), McMillan Building, University of Sydney
  • , Julius I. AgboolaAffiliated withDepartment of Fisheries, Lagos State University
  • , Edith B. AllenAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Plant Sciences and Center for Conservation Biology, University of California
  • , William J. BealeyAffiliated withCentre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • , Roland BobbinkAffiliated withB-WARE Research Centre, Radboud University
  • , Maxim V. BobrovskyAffiliated withInstitute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science of Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , William D BowmanAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mountain Research Station/INSTAAR, University of Colorado
    • , Cristina BranquinhoAffiliated withCentro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
    • , Mercedes M.C. BustamenteAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecologia, Universidade de Brasília
    • , Christopher M. ClarkAffiliated withGlobal Change Research Program/Environmental Protection Agency
    • , Edward C. CockingAffiliated withCentre for Crop Nitrogen Fixation, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham
    • , Cristina CruzAffiliated withCentro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa
    • , Eric DavidsonAffiliated withThe Woods Hole Research Center
    • , O. Tom DenmeadAffiliated withCSIRO Land and WaterSchool of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne
    • , Teresa DiasAffiliated withCentro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa
    • , Nancy B. DiseAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental and Geographical Science, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • , Alan FeestAffiliated withWater and Environmental Management Research Centre, University of Bristol
    • , James N. GallowayAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
    • , Linda H. GeiserAffiliated withPacific Northwest Region Air Resource Management, US Forest Service
    • , Frank S. GilliamAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Marshall University
    • , Ian J. HarrisonAffiliated withConservation International
    • , Larisa G. KhaninaAffiliated withInstitute of Mathematical Problems in Biology of Russian Academy of Sciences
    • , Xiankai LuAffiliated withDinghushan Forest Ecosystem Research Station, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    • , Esteban ManriqueAffiliated withInstituto de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
    • , Raúl Ochoa HuesoAffiliated withInstituto de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
    • , Jean P.H.B. OmettoAffiliated withInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (CCST/INPE)
    • , Richard PayneAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • , Thomas ScheuschnerAffiliated withOEKO-DATA, National Critical Load Focal Center
    • , Lucy J. SheppardAffiliated withCentre for Ecology and Hydrology
    • , Gavin L. SimpsonAffiliated withGeography Department, Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London
    • , Y. V. SinghAffiliated withIndian Agricultural Research Institute, CCUBGA, IARI
    • , Carly J. StevensAffiliated withDepartment of Life Science, The Open UniversityLancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University
    • , Ian StrachanAffiliated withScottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House
    • , Harald SverdrupAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, Lund University
    • , Naoko TokuchiAffiliated withGraduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University (Yoshida North Campus)
    • , Hans van DobbenAffiliated withAlterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre
    • , Sarah WoodinAffiliated withIBES, University of Aberdeen

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Abstract

This chapter reports the findings of a Working Group on how atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition affects both terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. Regional and global scale impacts on biodiversity are addressed, together with potential indicators. Key conclusions are that: the rates of loss in biodiversity are greatest at the lowest and initial stages of N deposition increase; changes in species compositions are related to the relative amounts of N, carbon (C) and phosphorus (P) in the plant soil system; enhanced N inputs have implications for C cycling; N deposition is known to be having adverse effects on European and North American vegetation composition; very little is known about tropical ecosystem responses, while tropical ecosystems are major biodiversity hotspots and are increasingly recipients of very high N deposition rates; N deposition alters forest fungi and mycorrhyzal relations with plants; the rapid response of forest fungi and arthropods makes them good indicators of change; predictive tools (models) that address ecosystem scale processes are necessary to address complex drivers and responses, including the integration of N deposition, climate change and land use effects; criteria can be identified for projecting sensitivity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to N deposition. Future research and policy-relevant recommendations are identified.

Keywords

Biodiversity Flora Fauna Ecosystems Nitrogen effects Policy