This book reviews the evidence from across Europe that confirms nitrogen deposition as a major threat to European biodiversity, especially on the Natura 2000, including sensitive habitats and species listed under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). It documents the information presented and discussed at an international workshop on ‘Natura 2000 and Nitrogen Deposition’, held in Brussels in May 2009, to review new evidence of nitrogen impacts, develop best practices when conducting assessments, and recommend options for consideration in future policy development.
Increases in nitrogen (N) deposition in broad areas of Europe and North America, and parts of Asia, over the last 50 years have resulted in losses of plant diversity, shifts in plant communities, changes in ecosystem services and food webs, and other adverse environmental effects. Recent modelling projects increased rates of atmospheric N deposition over the next decades in most regions of the globe. Some parts of the world, such as Europe and Canada, have adopted an effects threshold approach for assessing the impacts of N deposition, known as Critical Loads. N deposition is above or approaching critical loads in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. However, shortcomings in several areas currently hamper adoption of the approach and general assessment of nitrogen impacts.
Assess N deposition estimates at regional to global scales;
Evaluate N critical loads and their exceedances as suitable tools/indicators;
Consider options for the assessment of ecosystem responses to N addition in different regions of the world;
Integrate global scientific knowledge and promote policy and management actions
Nitrogen Deposition and Natura 2000 Science & practice in determining environmental impacts
18-20 May, 2009 Brussels
Goal To harmonize approaches for determining the impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on Natura 2000 and review the future policy options.
At present there is no common European approach for determining the impacts of nitrogen deposition on individual sites or on conservation status. This provides key challenges for this workshop: to develop best practices in environmental assessment and decision making, and to inform the needs for future policy development. The workshop will compare case studies from different European countries, review the scale of the nitrogen threat to Natura 2000 sites and conservation status, linking the science and decision making at local to European scales.
The first workshop of this COST Action was held in Braunschweig (21-23 November 2005) and was hosted by the Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft (FAL), one of the members of this COST Action. This workshop was jointly organised with the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP).
Excess nitrogen has effects on a wide range of issues and the environmental policy responses to-date have been equally diverse. Atmospheric emissions of NOx and their impacts on acidification, eutrophication and ground-level O3 are being addressed under the Gothenburg Protocol of the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, as well as under the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD). The agreements now also include the first tentative steps to reduce European NH3 emissions, mainly from agriculture, and are also beginning to address the abatement of atmospheric aerosol concentrations.
The UN/ECE Taskforce on Integrated Assessment Modelling, COST Action 729 and the ESF Programme NinE jointly organised a workshop on 'Integrated Assessment Modelling of Nitrogen', hosted by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analyses (IIASA) located at Laxenburg (Austria).