Biodiversity of Acid Grasslands in the Atlantic Regions of Europe: The Impact of Nitrogen Deposition



Reduction in the species richness of acid grasslands along a gradient of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has previously been demonstrated in the UK (Stevens, Dise, Mountford, Gowing, Science 303:1876–1879, 2004). Further surveys of acid grasslands in the UK confirm this relationship. This chapter reports an examination of the relationship across the Atlantic region of Europe. Examining the cover of functional groups across this gradient reveals that forb cover is strongly reduced along the gradient of N deposition.


Atmospheric nitrogen deposition Functional group cover Grass: forb ratio Plant species richness Violion caninae grassland 



This project was funded by the European Science Foundation through the EuroDiversity programme, and national funds were provided by DfG (Germany), NERC (United Kingdom), NWO (The Netherlands) and INRA, ADEME and Aquitaine Region (France). We are grateful to everyone who assisted with field and laboratory work, and to the conservation agencies and land owners who gave permission for sampling.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life ScienceThe Open UniversityWalton HallUK
  2. 2.Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology, FB 2University of BremenBremenGermany
  4. 4.Section of Landscape Ecology, Department of GeobiologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.StaatsbosbeheerDriebergenThe Netherlands
  6. 6.UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities (BIOGECO), Equipe Ecologie des CommunautésUniversity of Bordeaux 1TalenceFrance
  7. 7.Environment, Earth and EcosystemsThe Open UniversityWalton HallUK
  8. 8.Department of Air Quality and Climate ChangeEnergy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN)PettenThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Institute of Ecology, FB 2University of BremenBremenGermany
  10. 10.UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities (BIOGECO), Equipe Ecologie des CommunautésUniversity of Bordeaux 1TalenceFrance
  11. 11.B-WARE Research CentreRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  12. 12.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyPenicuik, MidlothianUK
  13. 13.UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities, Equipe Ecologie des CommunautésUniversity of Bordeaux 1TalenceFrance
  14. 14.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyCrowmarsh Gifford, WallingfordUK
  15. 15.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  16. 16.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  17. 17.Laboratoire des Interactions Ecotoxicologie, Biodiversité et Ecosystèmes (LIEBE), UMR CNRS 7146, U.F.R. Sci. F.A., Campus BridouxUniversité Paul VerlaineMetzFrance
  18. 18.Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  19. 19.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyBush EstatePenicuikUK

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