N deposition :: Blaeberry

Latin name: 
Vaccinium myrtillus

Impact Type: Deposition of pollutant

Key Concerns:

Blaeberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, is an important component of the understorey vegetation in native pine woodland and plays an important role in the life cycle of some birds (i.e. Capercaillie). A number of studies has shown that raised levels of N deposition lead to increased growth of grasses at the expense of ericaceous shrubs such as Blaeberry (Pitcairn et al. 1998, De Vries et al. 1995).

Additional Comments:

Blaeberry is more tolerant of shade and exposure than Calluna, and is common on heaths, moors and woods on acid soils, up to 3000m. Recent studies in Scandinavia have shown that increased N deposition increases the level of attack on Blaeberry by the leaf parasitic fungus Valdensia heterodoxa and by Lepidotera larvae. The risk of pests, and diseases will be gr eatly increased (Nordin et al. 1998, Strengbom et al. 2001). Nitrogen generally appears to increase frost hardiness, but may increase winter damage by wind when the ground is frozen. ��n;�p(�oeast-language:EN-GB'>4+ and NO3- (Risager 1998). Carfrae et al 2002 showed changes in the ratio of oxidised to reduced Nitrogen could potentially alter the balance between different Sphagnum species growing in bogs. Response to nitrogen is dependent on the availability of Potassium, and is also influenced by the height of the water table (Williams et al 1999). Nitrogen tends to accumulate in the Sphagnum as amino acids so that initially almost none of the additional nitrogen is available to other plant species. Aerts et al (1992) recorded a 4 fold increase in the growth of S. balticum in response to additions of 20 and 40 kg N in Sweden (background 0.4 kg N ha-1 yr-1). Growth stimulation is phosphorous dependent. 

Critical Load/level: 
Habitat/ Ecosystem Type Eunis Code Critical Load/ Level Status Reliability Indication of exceedance Reference
Broadleaved deciduous woodland G1

10-20 kg N ha-1 year-1

UNECE 2010 - Noordwijkerhout workshop reliable

Changes in soil processes, nutrient imbalance, altered composition mycorrhiza and ground vegetation.

Nordin, A.; Näsholm, T.; Ericson, L. 1998 Effects of simulated N deposition on understorey vegetation of a boreal coniferous forest. Functional Ecology 12 691-699
Pitcairn, C.E.R.; Leith, I.D.; Sheppard, L.J.; Sutton, M.A.; Fowler, D.; Munro, R.C.; Tang, S.; Wilson, D. 1998 The relationship between nitrogen deposition, species composition and foliar nitrogen concentrations in woodland flora in the vicinity of livestock farms. Environmental Pollution 102 41-48
Strengbom, J.; Nordin, A.; Ndsholm, T.; Ericson, L. 2001 Slow recovery of boreal forest ecosystem following decreased nitrogen input. Functional Ecology 15 451-457
Vriers, W.; Leeters, E.E.J.M.; Hendricks, C.M.A. 1995 Effects of acid deposition on Dutch forest ecosystems Water, Air and Soil Pollution 85 1063-1068
Species group: 

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