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Title: A simple tool for estimating throughfall nitrogen deposition in forests of western North America using lichens

Author: Root, Heather T.; Geiser, Linda H.; Fenn, Mark E.; Jovan, Sarah Dr; Hutten, Martin A.; Ahuja, Suraj; Dillman, Karen; Schirokauer, David; Berryman, Shanti; McMurray, Jill A.

Date: 2013

Source: A simple tool for estimating throughfall nitrogen deposition in forests of western North America using lichens. Forest Ecology and Management. 306: 1-8

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition has had substantial impacts on forests of North America. Managers seek to monitor deposition to identify areas of concern and establish critical loads, which define the amount of deposition that can be tolerated by ecosystems without causing substantial harm. We present a new monitoring approach that estimates throughfall inorganic N deposition from N concentration in lichens collected on site. Across 84 study sites in western North America with measured throughfall, a single regression model effectively estimated N deposition from lichen N concentration with an R² of 0.58 and could be improved with the addition of climate covariates including precipitation seasonality and temperature in the wettest quarter to an R² of 0.74. By restricting the model to the more intensively sampled region including Oregon, Washington, and California, the R² increased to 0.77. Because lichens are readily available, analysis is cost-effective, and accuracy is unaffected by mountainous terrain, this method allows development of deposition estimates at sites across broad spatial and topographic scales. Our approach can allow land managers to identify areas at risk of N critical load exceedance, which can be used for planning and management of air pollution impacts.

Keywords: Air quality, Critical loads, Lichens, Nitrogen deposition, Throughfall

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Root, Heather T.; Geiser, Linda H.; Fenn, Mark E.; Jovan, Sarah; Hutten, Martin A.; Ahuja, Suraj; Dillman, Karen; Schirokauer, David; Berryman, Shanti; McMurray, Jill A. 2013. A simple tool for estimating throughfall nitrogen deposition in forests of western North America using lichens. Forest Ecology and Management. 306: 1-8.

 


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