NOx :: Heather or Ling

Latin name: 

Calluna vulgaris

Impact Type: Direct exposure to pollutant

Key Concerns:

Work by Caporn et al. (2000) has shown that Calluna exposed to NO2 and SO2 throughout the growing season caused an increase in both root and shoot growth. However this was offset by a increased risk of damage by frost and an imbalance in root/shoot growth make the plants more vulnerable to water stress.

Additional Comments:

No work has been published as to the separate effects of these two pollutant gases (NO2 and SO2) on Calluna. It is possible that locally elevated NOX from roads could impact Calluna on roadside verges. In a study of the A31 dual carriageway in the New Forest, Hampshire, Angold (1997) showed that there was an effect on vegetation (including Calluna) up to 200m from the dual carriageway. While they attributed most of the effect to NOX, the effect of salt and heavy metals was acknowledged. With smaller roads the distance of impact will be proportionately less. 

Critical Load/level: 

Habitat/ Ecosystem Type Critical Load/ Level Status Reliability Indication of exceedance Reference
all vegetation categories

30 µg NOX (as NO2) m-3 annual mean; 75 µg NOX (as NO2 ) m-3 24-hour mean

UNECE 2004 Uncertainty: quite reliable i.e. the results of some studies are comparable

The concentration units are referenced as if all the NOX were in the form of NO2. (see Unit Conversion). The level for NOX should only be applied where levels of SO2 and O3 are close to their critical levels.



Caporn, S.J.M.; Ashenden, T.W.; Lee, J.A. 2000 The effect of exposure to NO2 and SO2 on frost hardiness in Calluna vulgaris Environmental and Experimental Botany 43 111-119

Species group: