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Does enhanced nitrogen deposition represent a threat to Sphagnum and thus the sustainability of Scottish peatlands?

Sheppard, L. J.; Leith, I. D.; Kivimaki, S. K.; van Dijk, N.; Hall, J.; Bruneau, P.; Grace, J.; Rees, R.. 2008 Does enhanced nitrogen deposition represent a threat to Sphagnum and thus the sustainability of Scottish peatlands? In: Land management in a changing environment, Proceedings SAC and SEPA biennial Conference, Edinburgh, 26-27 March 2008. 291-297.

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Abstract/Summary

Nutrient limited ombrotrophic bogs and peatlands support high conservation valued ecosystems, potentially susceptible to current elevated levels of reactive nitrogen (N) deposition. Here, we present the effects and consequences of different N forms, wet, dry, reduced and oxidised N on the functioning of a bog moss, Sphagnum capillifolium. Sphagnum mosses maintain the acid, low nutrient conditions, crucial for the sustainability of peat lands, where productivity must exceed decomposition. Dry deposited ammonia substantially elevated shoot N status, which led to tissue breakdown loss of function and death in S. capillifolium. Wet deposited nitrate and ammonium also negatively affected S. capillifolium, significantly reducing shoot extension and cover and significantly elevating N status. These effects occurred over 5 years and were significant even at the lowest reduced N dose, 8 kg N ha-1 y1 (background = 8-10 kg N ha-1 y-1), highlighting the threat N poses for the effective functioning of bog ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG02 Recovery from acidification and eutrophication > BG02.1 Linking Nitrogen Deposition and Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Billett
Emmett
Additional Keywords: ombrotrophic bogs, Sphagnum capillifolium, nitrogen, sustainability
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 19 Feb 2009 11:21
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5499

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