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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Spatio-temporal trends of nitrogen deposition and climate effects on Sphagnum productivity in European peatlands

Granath, Gustaf; Limpens, J.; Posch, Maximilian; Mücher, Sander; de Vries, Wim


To quantify potential nitrogen (N) deposition impacts on peatland carbon (C) uptake, we explored temporal and spatial trends in N deposition and climate impacts on the production of the key peat forming functional group (Sphagnum mosses) across European peatlands for the period 1900-2050. Using a modelling approach we estimated that between 1900 and 1950 N deposition impacts remained limited irrespective of geographical position. Between 1950 and 2000 N deposition depressed production between 0 and 25% relative to 1900, particularly in temperate regions. Future scenarios indicate this trend will continue and become more pronounced with climate warming. At the European scale, the consequences for Sphagnum net C-uptake remained small relative to 1900 due to the low peatland cover in high-N areas. The predicted impacts of likely changes in N deposition on Sphagnum productivity appeared to be less than those of climate. Nevertheless, current critical loads for peatlands are likely to hold under a future climate. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Air pollution; Carbon balance; Critical load; Ecosystem change; Peat mosses

Published in

Environmental Pollution
2014, volume: 187, pages: 73–80

Authors' information

Granath, Gustaf
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Granath, Gustaf
McMaster University
Limpens, J.
Posch, Maximilian
Mücher, Sander
Wageningen University & Research Centre (Wageningen UR)
de Vries, Wim
Wageningen University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

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