Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Nitrogen deposition causes eutrophication in bryophyte communities in central and northern European forests

Weldon, James; Merder, Julian; Ferretti, Marco; Grandin, Ulf

Abstract

Key message Our results indicate that nitrogen deposition is likely to adversely affect forest bryophyte communities, having negative impacts in terms of increased dominance of nitrophilic species at the expense of N-sensitive species and a decrease in evenness. Context Elevated atmospheric deposition of nitrogen (N) has long been recognised as a threat to biodiversity and, despite declines in European emission levels, will remain a threat in the future. Aims It has proven difficult to show clear large-scale impacts of N deposition on vascular forest understorey species, and few studies have looked at impacts on forest bryophytes. Here, we assess the impact of nitrogen deposition on forest bryophyte communities. Methods We used data from 187 plots included in European monitoring schemes to analyse the relationship between levels of throughfall nitrogen deposition and bryophyte taxonomic and functional diversity and community nitrogen preference. Results We found that nitrogen deposition is significantly associated with increased bryophyte community nitrogen preference and decreases in species evenness. Conclusion Our results indicate that nitrogen deposition is likely to adversely affect forest bryophyte communities, having negative impacts in terms of increased dominance of nitrophilic species at the expense of N-sensitive species and a decrease in species evenness.

Keywords

Nitrogen; Bryophytes; Taxonomic diversity; Functional diversity; Ellenberg indicator values; Europe

Published in

Annals of Forest Science
2022, volume: 79, number: 1, article number: 24

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Merder, Julian
Carnegie Institution for Science
Ferretti, Marco
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13595-022-01148-6

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/117495