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Change, stability, and atmospheric pollutant effects in European forest vegetation

Weldon, James (2021). Change, stability, and atmospheric pollutant effects in European forest vegetation. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880
ISBN 978-91-7760-770-0
eISBN 978-91-7760-771-7
[Doctoral thesis]

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While the “acid rain” of the 1980s caused widespread damage to forests, the sulphur emissions responsible have been much reduced since. However nitrogen emissions remain at concerning levels, and there are also questions about how well ecosystems recover even after air quality improves. By using data from long-term monitoring projects, I investigated how understorey vegetation communities respond to disturbances including atmospheric pollutant effects, and how the concepts of ecological stability and resilience can help us understand this. First, the natural experiment of extreme natural disturbances at a monitoring site showed that surviving refuge areas act as “ecological memory” and contribute to resilience. Then I focused on lichens and bryophytes, which are known to be sensitive to air pollution. For lichens in Sweden, only limited recovery was found despite improved air quality, which may be due to a lack of nearby source populations to act as refuges analogous to those in the first study. Using data from sites across Europe I found adverse effects of nitrogen deposition in bryophyte communities. Finally, I tracked the stability of vegetation communities over time and found that the extreme disturbances in the first study were clearly visible but that the specific effects of atmospheric pollutants could not be seen in the vegetation community as a whole, despite the effects earlier found in the most sensitive parts of the community (lichens and bryophytes). These results highlight the importance of looking at sensitive sub-groups when looking for atmospheric pollutant effects, and the importance of long-term monitoring data in investigating these questions.

Authors/Creators:Weldon, James
Title:Change, stability, and atmospheric pollutant effects in European forest vegetation
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2021
Number of Pages:61
Publisher:Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-7760-770-0
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-7760-771-7
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Article category:Other scientific
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
Keywords:Nitrogen, sulphur, community, plants, lichens, stability, resilience
Permanent URL:
ID Code:24882
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:25
Metadata Last Modified:17 Aug 2021 09:18

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