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Environ Pollut. 2007 Jul;148(1):191-200. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Phosphorus supply influences heathland responses to atmospheric nitrogen deposition.

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Department of Environmental and Leisure Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, MMU Cheshire, Crewe, Cheshire, UK.


On an upland moor dominated by pioneer Calluna vulgaris and with an understorey of mosses and lichens, experimental plots were treated with factorial combinations of nitrogen (N) at +0 and +20kg Nha(-1)yr(-1), and phosphorus (P) at +0 and +5kg Pha(-1)yr(-1). Over the 4-year duration of the experiment, the cover of the Calluna canopy increased in density over time as part of normal phenological development. Moss cover increased initially in response to N addition but then remained static; increases in cover in response to P addition became stronger over time, eventually causing reductions in the cover of the dominant Calluna canopy. Lichen cover virtually disappeared within 4 years in plots receiving +20kg Nha(-1)yr(-1) and also in separate plots receiving +10kg Nha(-1)yr(-1), but this effect was reversed by the addition of P.

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