Plant and Soil

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 137–143

Distribution and decline of endangered herbaceous heathland species in relation to the chemical composition of the soil

  • A. L. F. M. Houdijk
  • P. J. M. Verbeek
  • H. F. G. Van Dijk
  • J. G. M. Roelofs
Research Article

Abstract

High atmospheric deposition of ammonium affects the physical and chemical status of the soil, increasing nitrogen availability, soil acidity and the mobilization of toxic metal ions. To investigate whether and how the decline of several herbaceous plant species in Dutch heathlands is associated with these processes, the chemical composition of the soil on which these species grow has been compared with the soil on which heathland species such asCalluna vulgaris (L.) Hull,Erica tetralix L. andMolinea caerulea (L.) Moench dominate.

The discrimination between both soil types was primarily based on differences in pH (H2O), pH (NaCl) and the aluminium/calcium ratio in the waterextracts. Within the group of endangered herbaceous heathland species these soil parameters also varied. This led to a division into 4 groups of species:

u

  • Dominating species growing on acid soils

  • Herbaceous species growing together with dominating species on acid soils

  • Herbaceous species growing together with dominating species on moderately acid soils

  • Herbaceous species growing together with dominating species on weakly acid soils.

This study indicated that, unlike the decline of heather species, the decline of herbaceous species is not likely to be due to increased competition from grass species as a result of eutrophication. Soil acidification and the changed mineral balance in the soil are most likely to be responsible for the decline of all three groups of herbaceous plant species. ei]R F Huettl

Key words

acidification Calluna vulgaris chemical soil-composition decline of herbaceous heathland species eutrophication Erica tetralix Molinia caerulea 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aerts R 1989 The effect of increased nutrient availability on leaf turnover and above ground production of two ever-green ericaceous shrubs. Oecologia 78, 115–120.Google Scholar
  2. Berendse F and Aerts R 1987 Competition betweenErica tetralix L. andMolinia caerulea (L.) Moench as affected by the availability of nutrients. Acta Oecol./Oecol. Plant. 5, 3–14.Google Scholar
  3. Bobbink R and Willems J H 1987 Increasing dominance ofBrachypodium pinnatum (L.) Beauv. in Chalk Grasslands: A threat to a species-rich ecosystem. Biolog. Conserv. 40, 301–314.Google Scholar
  4. Boxman A W, Krabbendam H, Bellemakers M J S and Roelofs J G M 1991 Effects of ammonium and aluminium on the development and nutrition ofPinus nigra in hydroculture. Environ. Pollut. 73, 119–136.Google Scholar
  5. De Boer W 1990 Nitrification in Dutch Heathland Soils. Ph.D. Thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. 98 p.Google Scholar
  6. Centraal Bureau voor Statistiek 1983. Algemene milieu-statistiek 1979–1982. Centraal Bureau voor statistiek. Staatsuitgeverij,'s Gravenhage, The Netherlands. 281 p.Google Scholar
  7. Ellenberg H 1979 Zeigerwerte der Gefässpflanzen Mitteleuropas. Scripta Geobot. 9, 122 p.Google Scholar
  8. Fennema F 1990 Effects of exposure to atmospheric SO2, NH3 and (NH4)2SO4 on survival and extinction ofArmica montana L. andViola canina L. RIN, Arnhem, The Netherlands. Reportno. 90/14, 61 p.Google Scholar
  9. Grime J P 1979 Plant strategies and vegetation processes. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Heil G W and Diemont W H 1983 Raised nutrient levels change heathland into grassland. Vegetatio 53, 113–120.Google Scholar
  11. Heil G W, Werger W, DeMol D, VanDam D and Heyne B 1988 Capture of atmopsheric ammonium by grassland canopies. Science 239, 764–765.Google Scholar
  12. Houdijk A L F M and Roelofs J G M 1991 Deposition of acidifying and eutrophicating substances in Dutch forests. Acta Bot. Neerl. 40, 245–255.Google Scholar
  13. Houdijk A L F M, Smolders A and Roelofs J G M 1992 Effects of atmospheric deposition on the mineral balance in the soil of coniferous forests. Environ. Pollut. (In press).Google Scholar
  14. Kempers A J and Zweers A 1986 Ammonium determination in soil extracts by the salicylate method. Comm. Soil Sci. Anal. 1, 715–723.Google Scholar
  15. Kinzel H 1982 Die calcicolen und calcifugen, basiphilen und acidophilen Pflanze.In Pflanzenökologie und Mineralstoff-wechsel. pp. 216–380. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  16. Kroese C, Pegtel D M and Blom C J C 1989 An experimental comparison of aluminium and manganese susceptibility inAntennaria dioica, Viola canina, Filago minima andDeschampsia flexuosa. Acta Bot. Neerl. 38, 165–172.Google Scholar
  17. Mennema J, Quene-Boterenbrood A I and Plate C L 1985 Atlas van de Nederlandse flora. Deel 2: Zeldzame en vrij zeldzame planten. Bohn. Scheltema en Holkema, Utecht. 349 p.Google Scholar
  18. Mulder J 1988 Impact of Acid Atmospheric Deposition on Soils: Field Monitoring and Aluminium Chemistry. Ph.d. Thesis, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  19. O'Brien J 1962 Automatic analysis of chloride in sewage water. Engineering 33, 670–677.Google Scholar
  20. Roelofs J G M, Kempers A J, Houdijk A L F M, and Jansen J 1985 The effect of air-borne ammonium sulphate onPinus nigra var.maritima in the Netherlands. Plant and Soil 84, 45–56.Google Scholar
  21. Roelofs J G M 1986 The effect of airborne sulphur and nitrogen deposition on aquatic and terrestrial heathland vegetation. Experientia 42, 372–377.Google Scholar
  22. SAS Institute Inc. 1985. SAS User's Guide: Statistics, 5 edition. SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC. 957 p.Google Scholar
  23. Sokal R R and Rohlf F J 1981 Assumptions of analysis of variance.In Biometry (Second Edition). pp 400–453 W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  24. Technicon Corporation 1969 Technicon Autoanalyzer Methodology.In Industrial Method 33–69W. Nitrate + nitrite in water. pp 1–2. Technicon Corporation, Karrytown, NY.Google Scholar
  25. Ulrich B 1983 Soil acidity and its relation to acid deposition.In Effects of Accumulation of Air Pollutants in Forest Ecosystems. Eds. BUlrich and JPankrath. pp 127–146. Reidel Publ. Comp., Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  26. VanBreemen N, Burrough P A, Velthorst E J, VanDobben H F, DeWit T, Ridder T B and Reynders H F R 1982 Soil acidification from atmospheric ammonium sulphate in forest canopy throughfall. Nature 299, 548–550.Google Scholar
  27. VanDam D, VanDobben H F, Ter Braak C F J and DeWit T 1986 Air pollution as a possible cause for the decline of some phanerogamic species in the Netherlands. Vegetatio 65, 47–52.Google Scholar
  28. Van DeMeijden R, Arnolds E J M, Adema F, Weeda E J and Plate C J 1983. Standaardlijst van de Nederlandse Flora. Rijksherbarium, Leiden.Google Scholar
  29. Van Der Eerden L J, Dueck Th A, Elderson J, Van Dobben H F, Berdowski J J M, Latuhihin M, and Prins A H 1990 Effects of NH3 and (NH4)2SO4 deposition on terrestiral semi-natural vegetation on nutrient-poor soils. Research Institute for Plant Protection, Wageningen, Netherlands, IPO-report R 90–06, 310 p.Google Scholar
  30. Westhoff V and DenHeld A J 1969 Plantengemeenschappen in Nederland. Thieme, Zutphen. 324 p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. L. F. M. Houdijk
    • 1
  • P. J. M. Verbeek
    • 1
  • H. F. G. Van Dijk
    • 1
  • J. G. M. Roelofs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Section Environmental EcologyCatholic University of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations