Assessing the impacts of nitrogen deposition on plant species richness in Europe

J.P. Hettelingh, C. Stevens, M. Posch, R. Bobbink, W. de Vries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Dose-Response (D-R) relationships derived from nitrogen (N) addition experiments and N deposition gradient studies are extrapolated over natural and (semi-)natural grasslands in Europe, using a European land cover map. Based on emissions of oxidized and reduced N in 2000 and 2020, ecosystem-specific depositions of total N are computed over Europe. For 2020 two scenarios are applied, i.e. one according agreed emission reductions under national and European legislation and the other based on the (hypothetical) application of best available emission control techniques. Results show that the impact of N deposition on plant species diversity computed over European (semi-)natural grasslands is less when N addition based dose-response relationships are used than when a N deposition gradient based alternative is applied. Using the latter approach, the species richness is computed to be reduced by more than 40 % in about 5 % of European grasslands in 2000. This reduction in species richness becomes less than 25 %, when N emissions are cut back using maximum feasible abatement technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Loads and Dynamic Risk Assessments : Nitrogen, Acidity and Metals in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems
EditorsW. de Vries, J.P. Hettelingh, M. Posch
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameEnvironmental Pollution

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