Relation between forest vegetation, atmospheric deposition and site conditions at regional and European scales

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    Abstract

    Several monitoring programs have been set up to assess effects of atmospheric deposition on forest ecosystems. The aim of the present study was to evaluate effects on the understorey vegetation, based on the first round of a regional (the Netherlands) and a European forest monitoring program. A multivariate statistical analysis showed surprisingly similar results for both data sets; the vegetation appeared to be largely determined by the ‘traditional’ factors soil, climate, and tree species, but there was a small but statistically significant effect of atmospheric deposition. The effects of deposition include a slight shift towards nitrophytic species at high N deposition in the European network, and towards acidophytic species at high S-deposition in the Dutch network. The relatively small effect of atmospheric deposition is understandable in view of the very large natural variation in environmental conditions. Time series of both vegetation and environment are needed to assess deposition effects in detail. There is a small but noticeable effect of anthropogenic atmospheric deposition on forest vegetation in Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)921-933
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Volume158
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • ellenberg indicator values
    • ca-al ratio
    • deciduous forest
    • nitrogen deposition
    • aluminum toxicity
    • critical loads
    • soil acidification
    • base cation
    • heathland
    • ecosystems

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