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Environ Pollut. 2005 Nov;138(1):77-85.

Effects of nitrogen enrichment on coastal dune grassland: a mesocosm study.

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  • 1Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Mesocosms filled with dune sand were planted with graminoid (Calamagrostis epigejos, Carex arenaria) and herbaceous species (Carlina vulgaris, Galium verum). Strong effects of nitrogen addition on the vegetation were found within two to three years. The above-ground biomass of C. epigejos and C. arenaria increased at deposition rates between 10 and 80 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1). Both grasses were limited by N. In latter stages P limitation was suggested for C. arenaria. At high N-levels, C. epigejos dominated the vegetation within two years. C. vulgaris and G. verum declined drastically as a result of increased competition for light by the highly competitive grass C. epigejos. It is concluded that increased (ambient) N inputs are of major importance for the increased dominance of tall grasses in stable dune grasslands.

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