Soil stripping in dry heathlands does not mitigate high nitrogen deposition


“Soil stripping is not a suitable measure to address negative effects of a high nitrogen deposition in dry heathlands. In cases where measures fail, efforts to reduce nitrogen deposition must be pursued much more vigorously. An additional benefit of lower deposition is a lower nitrogen leaching to the groundwater, whereby this valuable source for drinking water remains well protected.
In the years to come many mitigation measures are to be taken in Dutch Natura 2000 areas aimed at alleviating the negative effects of the excessive atmospheric nitrogen (N) load on nature. Indeed, in order to solve the legal and political impasse on the high N deposition problem in the Netherlands, it is proposed that these measures be intensified. But there is a question about the extent to which the measures act positively upon the ecosystem nitrogen balance. And do they in fact bring about the recovery of nutrient-poor vegetation types? In 2018, research was conducted into the effects of soil stripping in dry heathlands by KWR Water Research Institute, University of Amsterdam and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology. The research was commissioned by the Dutch drinking water utilities, reflecting the water sector’s concern for the protection of nature values as well as for safeguarding of nature to ensure good water quality for the production of drinking water.”

(Citation: Aggenbach, C.J.S., de Haan, M.W.A. – Soil stripping in dry heathlands does not mitigate high nitrogen deposition – (2020)10 October)

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