, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 235–246 | Cite as

Effects of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on Remote Freshwater Ecosystems

  • Fabio Lepori
  • François Keck
Review Paper


We review known and hypothesized effects of nitrogen (N) deposition owing to human activities on the chemistry, organisms, and ecosystem processes of remote oligotrophic freshwaters. Acidification is the best-known effect of N deposition on water chemistry, but additional effects include increased nutrient availability and alteration of the balance between N and other nutrients. Our synthesis of the literature, framed in a comprehensive model for the effects of N deposition on natural ecosystems, shows that all these effects can reduce biological diversity and alter ecosystem processes in remote freshwaters. N deposition is projected to grow worldwide in the near future and will interact with other global changes. Present effects on these fragile ecosystems may be only early signs of more radical impacts ahead.


Acidification Atmospheric deposition Global change Mountain ecosystems N:P ratio Nutrient limitation 



We thank Sibel Şatıroğlu, Florian Mermillod-Blondin, and three anonymous reviewers for providing comments on this manuscript.


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© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, UMR 5023 – LEHNA, Laboratoire d’Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et AnthropisésUniversité Claude Bernard Lyon 1VilleurbanneFrance

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