The Critical Levels of Atmospheric Ammonia in a Mediterranean Holm-Oak Forest in North-Eastern Spain
- 249 Downloads
Despite recent regulations, atmospheric ammonia (NH3) emissions have not changed much over the last decades and excessive nitrogen remains as one of the major drivers for biodiversity changes. To prevent deleterious effects on species and ecosystems, it is very important to establish safety thresholds, such as those defined by the Critical Level (CLE) concept, “the concentration above which direct adverse effects on receptors may occur, based on present knowledge.” Empirical critical levels of atmospheric NH3 have mainly been reported for temperate forests and there is a lack of information for Mediterranean forests. Here, we provide a case study on NH3 CLEs for a typical Mediterranean ecosystem, the holm-oak (Quercus ilex) forest. To derive the CLE value, we measured NH3 concentrations for 1 year at a distance gradient in the forest surrounding a point source (cattle farm) and used diversity changes of lichen functional groups to indicate the onset of adverse effects. We estimate a NH3 CLE threshold of 2.6 μg m−3, a value that is higher than that reported in other Mediterranean ecosystems and suggests that the site has been already impacted by NH3 pollution in the past. In a more general context, this study confirms the validity of lichen functional groups to derive CLEs in Mediterranean forests and woodlands and contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the impacts of NH3 on ecosystems.
KeywordsCritical levels Ammonia Ecological indicators Lichen functional groups Mediterranean Quercus ilex forest N pollution
The financial support from the Spanish Government projects CGL2009-13188-C03-01 and MONTES-Consolider CSD-2008-00040 is fully acknowledged. PM would like to thank COST Action FP0903 for financial support of a short-term scientific mission through contract ECOST-STSM-FP0903-120912-019761. PM, PP, and CB acknowledge FCT-MEC support by contracts BD/51419/2011, BPD/75425/2010, and Investigador FCT. The comments of one reviewer are greatly appreciated.
- Aguillaume, L., García-Gómez, H., Izquieta, S., Alonso, R., Elustondo, D., Santamaría, J. M., & Avila, A. (2017). Estimating dry deposition and canopy exchange in Mediterranean holm-oak forests with a canopy budget model: a focus on N deposition. Atmospheric Environment, 152, 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Asta, J., Erhardt, W., Ferretti, M., Fornasier, F., Kirschbaum, U., Nimis, P., Purvis, O., Pirintsos, S., Scheidegger, C., Van Haluwyn, C. (2002). European guideline for mapping lichen diversity as an indicator of environmental stress. British Lichen Society.Google Scholar
- Finlayson-Pitts, B. J., & Pitts, J. N., Jr. (1999). Chemistry of the upper and lower atmosphere: theory, experiments, and applications, Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri. (2006). Instruction manual for Radiello sampler. Edition 01/2006. http//www.radiello.com.
- García-Gómez, H., Aguillaume, L., Izquieta, S., Valiño, F., Avila, A., Elustondo, D., Santamaría, J. M., Alastuey, A., Calvete-Sogo, H., González-Fernández, I., & Alonso, R. (2016). Atmospheric pollutants in peri-urban forests of Quercus ilex: evidence of pollution abatement and threats for vegetation. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23, 6499–6413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jovan, S. (2008). Lichen bioindication of biodiversity, air quality, and climate: baseline results from monitoring in Washington, Oregon, and California.Google Scholar
- Kumar, R., Gupta, A., Kumari, K. M., & Srivastava, S. (2004). Simultaneous measurements of SO 2, NO 2, HNO 3 and NH 3: seasonal and spatial variations. Current Science, 87, 1108–1115.Google Scholar
- Longán, A. (2006). Els líquens epífits com a indicadors de l’estat de conservació del bosc mediterrani: proposta metodològica per als alzinars de Catalunya, Institut d’Estudis Catalans.Google Scholar
- Nimis, P. L., & Martellos, S. (2008). The information system on Italian lichens http://dbiodbs.univ.trieste.it/.
- Ochoa-Hueso, R., Allen, E. B., Branquinho, C., Cruz, C., Dias, T., Fenn, M. E., Manrique, E., Pérez-Corona, M. E., Sheppard, L. J., & Stock, W. D. (2011). Nitrogen deposition effects on Mediterranean-type ecosystems: an ecological assessment. Environmental Pollution, 159, 2265–2279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Otero, N., Torrentó, C., Soler, A., Menció, A., & Mas-Pla, J. (2009). Monitoring groundwater nitrate attenuation in a regional system coupling hydrogeology with multi-isotopic methods: the case of Plana de Vic (Osona, Spain). Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 133, 103–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Phoenix, G. K., Hicks, W. K., Cinderby, S., Kuylenstierna, J. C., Stock, W. D., Dentener, F. J., Giller, K. E., Austin, A. T., Lefroy, R. D., & Gimeno, B. S. (2006). Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in world biodiversity hotspots: the need for a greater global perspective in assessing N deposition impacts. Global Change Biology, 12, 470–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pinho, P., Augusto, S., Martins-Loução, M. A., Pereira, M. J., Soares, A., Máguas, C., & Branquinho, C. (2008). Causes of change in nitrophytic and oligotrophic lichen species in a Mediterranean climate: impact of land cover and atmospheric pollutants. Environmental Pollution, 154, 380–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pinho, P., Branquinho, C., Cruz, C., Tang, Y. S., Dias, T., Rosa, A. P., Máguas, C., Martins-Loução, M.-A., & Sutton, M. A. (2009). Assessment of critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for lichen diversity in cork-oak woodland. Atmospheric ammonia (pp. 109–119). Portugal: Springer.Google Scholar
- Pinho, P., Theobald, M., Dias, T., Tang, Y., Cruz, C., Martins-Loução, M., Máguas, C., Sutton, M., & Branquinho, C. (2012). Critical loads of nitrogen deposition and critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for semi-natural Mediterranean evergreen woodlands. Biogeosciences, 9, 1205–1215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pinho, P., Martins-Loução, M.-A., Máguas, C., Branquinho, C. (2014b). Calibrating total nitrogen concentration in lichens with emissions of reduced nitrogen at the regional scale. Nitrogen deposition, critical loads and biodiversity, Springer, pp. 217–227.Google Scholar
- Pitcairn, C., Leith, I., Sheppard, L., Sutton, M., Fowler, D., Munro, R., Tang, S., & Wilson, D. (1998). The relationship between nitrogen deposition, species composition and foliar nitrogen concentrations in woodland flora in the vicinity of livestock farms. Environmental Pollution, 102, 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Posthumus, A. (1988). Critical levels for effects of ammonia and ammonium. Proceedings of the Bad Harzburg Workshop, pp. 117–127.Google Scholar
- Sanz, M., Montalvo, G., Monter, C., Sanz, F., Illescas, P., Piñeiro, C., Bigeriego, M. (2007). Ammonia concentration around two poultry farms in the central plateau of Spain. Ammonia Emissions in Agriculture, 370.Google Scholar
- Tang, Y. S., Cape, J. N., Sutton, M. A. (2001). Development and types of passive samplers for monitoring atmospheric NO2 and NH3 concentrations. The Scientific World Journal 1.Google Scholar