Differential effects of oxidised and reduced nitrogen on vegetation and soil chemistry of species-rich acidic grasslands

Dorland, Edu and Stevens, Carly J. and Gaudnik, Cassandre and Corcket, Emmanuel and Rotthier, Suzanne and Wotherspoon, Katherine and Jokerud, Mari and Vandvik, Vigdis and Soons, Merel B. and Hefting, Mariet M. and Aarrestad, Per Arild and Alard, Didier and Diekmann, Martin and Duprè, Cecilia and Dise, Nancy B. and Gowing, David J. G. and Bobbink, Roland (2013) Differential effects of oxidised and reduced nitrogen on vegetation and soil chemistry of species-rich acidic grasslands. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 224 (9). ISSN 0049-6979

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Emissions and deposition of ammonia and nitrogen oxides have strongly increased since the 1950s. This has led to significant changes in the nitrogen (N) cycle, vegetation composition and plant diversity in many ecosystems of high conservation value in Europe. As a consequence of different regional pollution levels and of the increased importance of reduced N in the near future, determining the effect of different forms of N is an important task for understanding the consequences of atmospheric N inputs. We have initiated three replicated N addition experiments in species-rich, acidic grasslands spanning a climatic gradient in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe in Norway, Wales and France at sites with low levels of pollution. N was added in two doses (0 and 70 kg N ha−1 year−1 above background) and in three forms (oxidised N, reduced N and a 50–50 combination). After 2.5 years of N additions, the effects of these treatments on plant biomass, plant nutritional status, soil pH and soil nutrient availability were determined. Impacts of the N additions were observed within the 2.5-year research period. In some cases, the first signs of differential effects of N form could also be demonstrated. In the French site, for example, grass biomass was significantly increased by the oxidised N treatments but decreased by the reduced N treatments. In the Norwegian site, the reduced N treatments significantly reduced soil pH, whereas oxidised N did not. Effects on nutrient availability were also observed. These experiments will be continued to elucidate the longer term impacts of N deposition on these grasslands.

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Journal Article
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Water, Air, and Soil Pollution
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29 Nov 2013 13:50
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 00:30