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Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in world biodiversity hotspots: the need for a greater global perspective in assessing N deposition impacts

Phoenix, G.K., Hicks, W.K., Cinderby, S., Kuylenstierna, J.C.I., Stocks, W.D., Dentener, F.J., Giller, K.E., Austin, A.T., Lefroy, R.D.B., Gimeno, B.S., Ashmore, M.R. and Ineson, P. (2006) Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in world biodiversity hotspots: the need for a greater global perspective in assessing N deposition impacts. Global Change Biology, 12 (3). pp. 470-476. ISSN 1354-1013

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Abstract

Increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is known to reduce plant diversity in natural and semi-natural ecosystems, yet our understanding of these impacts comes almost entirely from studies in northern Europe and North America. Currently, we lack an understanding of the threat of N deposition to biodiversity at the global scale. In particular, rates of N deposition within the newly defined 34 world biodiversity hotspots, to which 50% of the world's floristic diversity is restricted, has not been quantified previously. Using output from global chemistry transport models, here we provide the first estimates of recent (mid-1990s) and future (2050) rates and distributions of N deposition within biodiversity hotspots. Our analysis shows that the average deposition rate across these areas was 50% greater than the global terrestrial average in the mid-1990s and could more than double by 2050, with 33 of 34 hotspots receiving greater N deposition in 2050 compared with 1990. By this time, 17 hotspots could have between 10% and 100% of their area receiving greater than 15 kg N ha−1 yr−1, a rate exceeding critical loads set for many sensitive European ecosystems. Average deposition in four hotspots is predicted to be greater than 20 kg N ha−1 yr−1. This elevated N deposition within areas of high plant diversity and endemism may exacerbate significantly the global threat of N deposition to world floristic diversity. Overall, we highlight the need for a greater global approach to assessing the impacts of N deposition.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Stockholm Environment Institute at York (York)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2009 14:01
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2009 14:01
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01104.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01104.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6127

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