Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition

Andreas Schmitz, Tanja G.M. Sanders, Andreas Bolte, Filippo Bussotti, Thomas Dirnböck, Jim Johnson, Josep Peñuelas, Martina Pollastrini, Anne Katrin Prescher, Jordi Sardans, Arne Verstraeten, Wim de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Average nitrogen (N) deposition across Europe has declined since the 1990s. This resulted in decreased N inputs to forest ecosystems especially in Central and Western Europe where deposition levels are highest. While the impact of atmospheric N deposition on forests has been receiving much attention for decades, ecosystem responses to the decline in N inputs received less attention. Here, we review observational studies reporting on trends in a number of indicators: soil acidification and eutrophication, understory vegetation, tree nutrition (foliar element concentrations) as well as tree vitality and growth in response to decreasing N deposition across Europe. Ecosystem responses varied with limited decrease in soil solution nitrate concentrations and potentially also foliar N concentrations. There was no large-scale response in understory vegetation, tree growth, or vitality. Experimental studies support the observation of a more distinct reaction of soil solution and foliar element concentrations to changes in N supply compared to the three other parameters. According to the most likely scenarios, further decrease of N deposition will be limited. We hypothesize that this expected decline will not cause major responses of the parameters analysed in this study. Instead, future changes might be more strongly controlled by the development of N pools accumulated within forest soils, affected by climate change and forest management. We find limited indication for response of Europe's forests to declining N deposition. Reactions have been reported for soil solution NO3 and potentially foliar N concentrations but not for other indicators.

LanguageEnglish
Pages980-994
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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Ecosystems
Ecosystem
Nitrogen
Soil
Soils
Eutrophication
Climate Change
Growth
Acidification
Nitrates
Forestry
Observational Studies
Nutrition
Climate change
Observation
Forests

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Emission reduction
  • Forest monitoring
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Recovery

Cite this

Schmitz, A., Sanders, T. G. M., Bolte, A., Bussotti, F., Dirnböck, T., Johnson, J., ... de Vries, W. (2019). Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition. Environmental Pollution, 244, 980-994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.101
Schmitz, Andreas ; Sanders, Tanja G.M. ; Bolte, Andreas ; Bussotti, Filippo ; Dirnböck, Thomas ; Johnson, Jim ; Peñuelas, Josep ; Pollastrini, Martina ; Prescher, Anne Katrin ; Sardans, Jordi ; Verstraeten, Arne ; de Vries, Wim. / Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition. In: Environmental Pollution. 2019 ; Vol. 244. pp. 980-994.
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abstract = "Average nitrogen (N) deposition across Europe has declined since the 1990s. This resulted in decreased N inputs to forest ecosystems especially in Central and Western Europe where deposition levels are highest. While the impact of atmospheric N deposition on forests has been receiving much attention for decades, ecosystem responses to the decline in N inputs received less attention. Here, we review observational studies reporting on trends in a number of indicators: soil acidification and eutrophication, understory vegetation, tree nutrition (foliar element concentrations) as well as tree vitality and growth in response to decreasing N deposition across Europe. Ecosystem responses varied with limited decrease in soil solution nitrate concentrations and potentially also foliar N concentrations. There was no large-scale response in understory vegetation, tree growth, or vitality. Experimental studies support the observation of a more distinct reaction of soil solution and foliar element concentrations to changes in N supply compared to the three other parameters. According to the most likely scenarios, further decrease of N deposition will be limited. We hypothesize that this expected decline will not cause major responses of the parameters analysed in this study. Instead, future changes might be more strongly controlled by the development of N pools accumulated within forest soils, affected by climate change and forest management. We find limited indication for response of Europe's forests to declining N deposition. Reactions have been reported for soil solution NO3 − and potentially foliar N concentrations but not for other indicators.",
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Schmitz, A, Sanders, TGM, Bolte, A, Bussotti, F, Dirnböck, T, Johnson, J, Peñuelas, J, Pollastrini, M, Prescher, AK, Sardans, J, Verstraeten, A & de Vries, W 2019, 'Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition', Environmental Pollution, vol. 244, pp. 980-994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.101

Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition. / Schmitz, Andreas; Sanders, Tanja G.M.; Bolte, Andreas; Bussotti, Filippo; Dirnböck, Thomas; Johnson, Jim; Peñuelas, Josep; Pollastrini, Martina; Prescher, Anne Katrin; Sardans, Jordi; Verstraeten, Arne; de Vries, Wim.

In: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 244, 01.2019, p. 980-994.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition

AU - Schmitz, Andreas

AU - Sanders, Tanja G.M.

AU - Bolte, Andreas

AU - Bussotti, Filippo

AU - Dirnböck, Thomas

AU - Johnson, Jim

AU - Peñuelas, Josep

AU - Pollastrini, Martina

AU - Prescher, Anne Katrin

AU - Sardans, Jordi

AU - Verstraeten, Arne

AU - de Vries, Wim

PY - 2019/1

Y1 - 2019/1

N2 - Average nitrogen (N) deposition across Europe has declined since the 1990s. This resulted in decreased N inputs to forest ecosystems especially in Central and Western Europe where deposition levels are highest. While the impact of atmospheric N deposition on forests has been receiving much attention for decades, ecosystem responses to the decline in N inputs received less attention. Here, we review observational studies reporting on trends in a number of indicators: soil acidification and eutrophication, understory vegetation, tree nutrition (foliar element concentrations) as well as tree vitality and growth in response to decreasing N deposition across Europe. Ecosystem responses varied with limited decrease in soil solution nitrate concentrations and potentially also foliar N concentrations. There was no large-scale response in understory vegetation, tree growth, or vitality. Experimental studies support the observation of a more distinct reaction of soil solution and foliar element concentrations to changes in N supply compared to the three other parameters. According to the most likely scenarios, further decrease of N deposition will be limited. We hypothesize that this expected decline will not cause major responses of the parameters analysed in this study. Instead, future changes might be more strongly controlled by the development of N pools accumulated within forest soils, affected by climate change and forest management. We find limited indication for response of Europe's forests to declining N deposition. Reactions have been reported for soil solution NO3 − and potentially foliar N concentrations but not for other indicators.

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KW - Air pollution

KW - Emission reduction

KW - Forest monitoring

KW - Nitrogen deposition

KW - Recovery

U2 - 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.101

DO - 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.101

M3 - Article

VL - 244

SP - 980

EP - 994

JO - Environmental Pollution

T2 - Environmental Pollution

JF - Environmental Pollution

SN - 0269-7491

ER -

Schmitz A, Sanders TGM, Bolte A, Bussotti F, Dirnböck T, Johnson J et al. Responses of forest ecosystems in Europe to decreasing nitrogen deposition. Environmental Pollution. 2019 Jan;244:980-994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.101