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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 337249
Title Expansion of invasive species on ombrotrophic bogs: desiccation or high N deposition?
Author(s) Tomassen, H.B.M.; Smolders, A.J.P.; Limpens, J.; Lamers, L.P.M.; Roelofs, J.G.M.
Source Journal of Applied Ecology 41 (2004)1. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 139 - 150.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2004.00870.x
Department(s) Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2004
Keyword(s) veenmoerassen - invasies - planten - stikstof - verdroging - veengronden - luchtverontreiniging - fosfor - drainage - betula pubescens - cladonia - molinia caerulea - sphagnum - nederland - ierse republiek - bogs - invasions - plants - nitrogen - desiccation - peat soils - air pollution - phosphorus - drainage - betula pubescens - cladonia - molinia caerulea - sphagnum - netherlands - irish republic - atmospheric nitrogen deposition - caerulea l moench - vulgaris l hull - calluna-vulgaris - molinia-caerulea - nutrient availability - cladonia-portentosa - vascular plants - growth
Categories Ecology (General)
Abstract 1. In many ombrotrophic bog areas the invasion of grass (e.g. Molinia caerulea) and tree (e.g. Betula pubescens) species has become a major problem. We investigated whether the invasion of such species is due to high atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition by conducting a fertilization experiment. 2. The effects of experimentally increased N input on Molinia, Betula and Eriophorum vaginatum were studied in desiccated bog vegetation in Ireland, where there is relatively low background N deposition. Four different N treatments were applied for 3 years: 0 (control), 2, 4 and 8 g m-2 year-1. 3. Ammonium and nitrate concentrations in the peat moisture increased at high N addition rates, leading to significantly higher carbon : nitrogen (C : N) and nitrogen : phosphorus (N : P) ratios in the top layer of the peat. The potential CO2 production rate of the peat was not stimulated at high N addition rates due to severe acidification of the peat. 4. Despite high tissue N : P ratios (above 40), above-ground biomass production by Molinia was stimulated at high N addition rates, and foliar nutrient concentrations were unaffected. In contrast to Molinia, Betula and Eriophorum were unable to increase their above-ground biomass, probably due to P limitation. Regrowth of the lichen Cladonia portentosa was suppressed at high N addition rates. 5. Synthesis and applications. We conclude that the invasion of bogs by Molinia and Betula is likely to be less affected by desiccation than by increased N availability. Apparently, Molinia is well adapted to P-limiting conditions, which may explain its success in regions with increased N deposition levels. The high availability of P in many Dutch bogs compared with Irish bogs, together with prolonged high N deposition levels, may explain the strong increase in both Molinia and Betula observed in the Netherlands. As long as N and P availabilities in Dutch bogs are too high to prevent invasion of Betula and/or Molinia, management measures stimulating growth of Sphagnum mosses could probably reduce the negative effects of high N deposition levels.
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