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Vascular plants as indicators of nitrogen enrichment in soils

Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula LU and Schöttelndreier, Marion LU (2004) In Plant Ecology 172(1). p.51-62
Abstract
The quantification of species along environmental gradients has long been the subject of study regarding natural plant communities and, more recently, ecosystems disturbed by anthropogenic emissions of eutrophying and acidifying substances. We studied 527 sites in southern Swedish deciduous forests divided into two regions, with mean nitrogen depositions of 17 and 9 kg ha(-1) y(-1). The higher deposition in the more exposed region has resulted in higher nitrogen mineralisation and nitrification rates. The objective was to identify nitrogen indicators, which we defined as species with a skewed distribution in relation to the net potential nitrogen mineralisation in the soil. Soil pH was introduced as a co-variable as it may relate to other... (More)
The quantification of species along environmental gradients has long been the subject of study regarding natural plant communities and, more recently, ecosystems disturbed by anthropogenic emissions of eutrophying and acidifying substances. We studied 527 sites in southern Swedish deciduous forests divided into two regions, with mean nitrogen depositions of 17 and 9 kg ha(-1) y(-1). The higher deposition in the more exposed region has resulted in higher nitrogen mineralisation and nitrification rates. The objective was to identify nitrogen indicators, which we defined as species with a skewed distribution in relation to the net potential nitrogen mineralisation in the soil. Soil pH was introduced as a co-variable as it may relate to other factors limiting plant growth and survival in these ecosystems. We tested the distribution of the net potential mineralised ammonium (minNH(4)(+)), nitrate (minNO(3)(-)), total inorganic nitrogen (minNH(4)(+)+NO3-) and the ratio of nitrification (percentage of minNH(4)(+)+NO3- as nitrate; %minNO(3)(-)) in 77 herbs. The number of species that showed a skewed distribution differed for the nitrogen variables studied in the following order: %minNO(3)(-) > minNO(3)(-) > minNH(4)(+) much greater than minNH(4)(+)+NO3-. As many as 21 species in region 1 and 17 species in region 2 were selected as indicators for one or several of the nitrogen variables. A fern, five graminoids and seven forbs were found to be indicators of low %minNO(3)(-) and two ferns, two grasses and 13 forbs were found to be indicators of high %minNO(3)(-). We correlated the Ellenberg N indicator values with species with and without skewed distributions, and found that the former group was best related to the N values. As with most indicators, the species identified here are probably best used in combination with other measures to demonstrate the effects of nitrogen deposition on vegetation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Plant Ecology
volume
172
issue
1
pages
51 - 62
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000221121300005
  • scopus:3543004801
ISSN
1573-5052
DOI
10.1023/B:VEGE.0000026033.43070.e9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5a853df1-d567-4216-8923-b31e83717369 (old id 137492)
date added to LUP
2007-07-02 09:45:58
date last changed
2017-07-23 03:55:31
@article{5a853df1-d567-4216-8923-b31e83717369,
  abstract     = {The quantification of species along environmental gradients has long been the subject of study regarding natural plant communities and, more recently, ecosystems disturbed by anthropogenic emissions of eutrophying and acidifying substances. We studied 527 sites in southern Swedish deciduous forests divided into two regions, with mean nitrogen depositions of 17 and 9 kg ha(-1) y(-1). The higher deposition in the more exposed region has resulted in higher nitrogen mineralisation and nitrification rates. The objective was to identify nitrogen indicators, which we defined as species with a skewed distribution in relation to the net potential nitrogen mineralisation in the soil. Soil pH was introduced as a co-variable as it may relate to other factors limiting plant growth and survival in these ecosystems. We tested the distribution of the net potential mineralised ammonium (minNH(4)(+)), nitrate (minNO(3)(-)), total inorganic nitrogen (minNH(4)(+)+NO3-) and the ratio of nitrification (percentage of minNH(4)(+)+NO3- as nitrate; %minNO(3)(-)) in 77 herbs. The number of species that showed a skewed distribution differed for the nitrogen variables studied in the following order: %minNO(3)(-) > minNO(3)(-) > minNH(4)(+) much greater than minNH(4)(+)+NO3-. As many as 21 species in region 1 and 17 species in region 2 were selected as indicators for one or several of the nitrogen variables. A fern, five graminoids and seven forbs were found to be indicators of low %minNO(3)(-) and two ferns, two grasses and 13 forbs were found to be indicators of high %minNO(3)(-). We correlated the Ellenberg N indicator values with species with and without skewed distributions, and found that the former group was best related to the N values. As with most indicators, the species identified here are probably best used in combination with other measures to demonstrate the effects of nitrogen deposition on vegetation.},
  author       = {Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula and Schöttelndreier, Marion},
  issn         = {1573-5052},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {51--62},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Plant Ecology},
  title        = {Vascular plants as indicators of nitrogen enrichment in soils},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:VEGE.0000026033.43070.e9},
  volume       = {172},
  year         = {2004},
}