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Impact of atmospheric N on growth in heathlands

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Chapter Summary

Atmospheric N pollution may increase plant growth and subsequently cause a transition of dwarf shrub heath into grassland. This chapter assesses the impact of precipitation and nutrients on direct and indirect growth of Calluna and some grasses over a wide range of climatic, edaphic and management conditions. The outcomes indicate that the assessment of critical levels was timely, although effects have been delayed, and effective management in terms of nitrogen removal restores heathland from grassland. The chapter emphasis on direct effects of growth on competition between grasses and Calluna, but also growth mediated indirect effects, such as by an increasing susceptibility of Calluna for drought, frost or insect infestation, are taken in account. The chapter describes that the dominance of grasses over Calluna occurred much faster on the relatively rich acid brown soil in Hoog Buurlo, due to a faster growth of Calluna.

Keywords: acid brown soil; atmospheric N pollution; Calluna; dwarf shrub heath; grassland; heathland; Hoog Buurlo



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