Skip to Main Content
Estimated losses of plant biodiversity across the United States from historical N deposition (1985-2010)Author(s): Christopher M. Clark; Philip E. Morefield; Frank S. Gilliam; Linda H. Pardo
Source: Ecology. 94(7): 1441–1448.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (6.0 MB)
DescriptionAlthough nitrogen (N) deposition is a significant threat to herbaceous plant biodiversity worldwide, it is not a new stressor for many developed regions. Only recently has it become possible to estimate historical impacts nationally for the United States. We used 26 years (1985–2010) of deposition data, with ecosystem-specific functional responses from local field experiments and a national critical loads (CL) database, to generate scenario-based estimates of herbaceous species loss. Here we show that, in scenarios using the low end of the CL range, N deposition exceeded critical loads over 0.38, 6.5, 13.1, 88.6, and 222.1 million ha for the Mediterranean California, North American Desert, Northwestern Forested Mountains, Great Plains, and Eastern Forest ecoregions, respectively, with corresponding species losses ranging from <1% to 30%. When we ran scenarios assuming ecosystems were less sensitive (using a common CL of 10 kg·ha-1·yr-1, and the high end of the CL range) minimal losses were estimated. The large range in projected impacts among scenarios implies uncertainty as to whether current critical loads provide protection to terrestrial plant biodiversity nationally and urge greater research in refining critical loads for U.S. ecosystems.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationClark, Christopher M.; Morefield, Philip E.; Gilliam, Frank S.; Pardo, Linda H. 2013. Estimated losses of plant biodiversity across the United States from historical N deposition (1985-2010). Ecology. 94(7): 1441–1448.
Keywordsbiodiversity, critical loads, ecoregion, herbaceous, nitrogen deposition
- Lichen-based critical loads for atmospheric nitrogen deposition in Western Oregon and Washington forests, USA
- Using fire risk and species loss to set critical loads for nitrogen deposition in southern California shrublands
- A comparison of empirical and modelled nitrogen critical loads for Mediterranean forests and shrublands in California
XML: View XML