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    Effects of increased deposition of atmospheric nitrogen on an upland moor: leaching of N species and soil solution chemistry

    Pilkington, Michael G., Caporn, Simon J.M., Carroll, Jacqueline A., Cresswell, Neil, Lee, John A., Ashenden, Trevor W., Brittain, S. Annie, Reynolds, Brian and Emmett, Bridget A. (2005) Effects of increased deposition of atmospheric nitrogen on an upland moor: leaching of N species and soil solution chemistry. Environmental Pollution, 135 (1). pp. 29-40. ISSN 0269-7491

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    Abstract

    This study was designed to investigate the leaching response of an upland moorland to long-term (10 yr) ammonium nitrate additions of 40, 80 and 120 kg N ha−1 yr−1 and to relate this response to other indications of potential system damage, such as acidification and cation displacement. Results showed increases in nitrate leaching only in response to high rates of N input, in excess of 96 and 136 kg total N input ha−1 yr−1 for the organic Oh horizon and mineral Eag horizon, respectively. Individual N additions did not alter ammonium leaching from either horizon and ammonium was completely retained by the mineral horizon. Leaching of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) from the Oh horizon was increased by the addition of 40 kg N ha−1 yr−1, but in spite of increases, retention of total dissolved nitrogen reached a maximum of 92% and 95% of 80 kg added N ha−1 yr−1 in the Oh and Eag horizons, respectively. Calcium concentrations and calcium/aluminium ratios were decreased in the Eag horizon solution with significant acidification mainly in the Oh horizon leachate. Nitrate leaching is currently regarded as an early indication of N saturation in forest systems. Litter C:N ratios were significantly lowered but values remained above a threshold predicted to increase leaching of N in forests.

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