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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 269–278 | Cite as

Detecting the signal of atmospheric N deposition in recent national-scale vegetation change across Britain

  • S. M. SmartEmail author
  • M. R. Ashmore
  • M. Hornung
  • W. A. Scott
  • D. A. Fowler
  • U. Dragosits
  • D. C. Howard
  • M. A. Sutton
  • D. Famulari
Article

Abstract

Model estimates of NOy and NHx deposition across Britain for 1996 (5 km square resolution) were applied as explanatory variables to account for national-scale, fine-grained changes in plant species composition between 1990 and 1998. Plant species data were recorded from up to 27 fixed plots located within a stratified random sample of 596 1 km2. The response variable was a cover-weighted Ellenberg fertility score for each plot. Analyses were carried out separately for woodlands, semi-natural grasslands and heaths/bogs. Most of the variation in the botanical response variable occurred between plots within squares and so could not be explained by the model deposition data. NHx deposition estimates accounted for significant, but small components of between 1 km2 variation in the change in Ellenberg score in grasslands (5.6%) and heath/bogs (9.8%) but not woodlands. NOy deposition estimates were not significantly associated with vegetation change. Linear models provided the best fit and the slope of the relationship was lower for heath/bogs than grasslands. Further signal attribution at sub-kilometre square scales requires the development of fine-grained models of N deposition that can be generalised across regional sampling domains.

Keywords

Ellenberg fertility index large-scale monitoring nitrogen deposition vegetation change 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Smart
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. R. Ashmore
    • 2
  • M. Hornung
    • 1
  • W. A. Scott
    • 1
  • D. A. Fowler
    • 3
  • U. Dragosits
    • 3
  • D. C. Howard
    • 1
  • M. A. Sutton
    • 3
  • D. Famulari
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment CentreLancasterUK
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental ScienceUniversity of BradfordWest YorkshireUK
  3. 3.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyMidlothianUK

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