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Assessment of nitrogen deposition effects and empirical critical loads of nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States

Author: Linda H Pardo; M J Robin-Abbott; Charles T Driscoll; United States. Forest Service. Northern Research Station.
Publisher: Newtown Square, PA : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, [2011]
Series: General technical report NRS, 80.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Human activity in the last century has led to a substantial increase in nitrogen (N) emissions and deposition. This N deposition has reached a level that has caused or is likely to cause alterations to the structure and function of many ecosystems across the United States. One approach for quantifying the level of pollution that would be harmful to ecosystems is the critical loads approach. The critical load is defi  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Assessment of nitrogen deposition effects and empirical critical loads of nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States.
Newtown Square, PA : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, [2011]
(OCoLC)758387636
Material Type: Document, Government publication, National government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Linda H Pardo; M J Robin-Abbott; Charles T Driscoll; United States. Forest Service. Northern Research Station.
OCLC Number: 832726596
Notes: "May 2011"--Page 2 of cover.
Description: 1 online resource (291 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps (some color).
Series Title: General technical report NRS, 80.
Responsibility: editors, L.H. Pardo, M.J. Robin-Abbott, C.T. Driscoll.

Abstract:

Human activity in the last century has led to a substantial increase in nitrogen (N) emissions and deposition. This N deposition has reached a level that has caused or is likely to cause alterations to the structure and function of many ecosystems across the United States. One approach for quantifying the level of pollution that would be harmful to ecosystems is the critical loads approach. The critical load is defi ned as the level of a pollutant below which no detrimental ecological effect occurs over the long term according to present knowledge. The objective of this project was to synthesize current research relating atmospheric N deposition to effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the United States and to identify empirical critical loads for atmospheric N deposition. The receptors that we evaluated included freshwater diatoms, mycorrhizal fungi and other soil microbes, lichens, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. The main responses reported fell into two categories: (1) biogeochemical, and (2) individual species, population, and community responses. The range of critical loads for nutrient N reported for U.S. ecoregions, inland surface waters, and freshwater wetlands is 1 to 39 kg N ha⁻¹ y⁻¹. This broad range spans the range of N deposition observed over most of the country. The empirical critical loads for N tend to increase in the following sequence for different life forms: diatoms, lichens and bryophytes, mycorrhizal fungi, herbaceous plants and shrubs, trees. The critical loads approach is an ecosystem assessment tool with great potential to simplify complex scientifi c information and effectively communicate with the policy community and the public. This synthesis represents the fi rst comprehensive assessment of empirical critical loads of N for ecoregions across the United States.

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