Exploring Ground Vegetation Change for Different Deposition Scenarios and Methods for Estimating Critical Loads for Biodiversity Using the ForSAFE-VEG Model in Switzerland and Sweden

Salim Belyazid, Harald Sverdrup, Daniel Kurz, Sabine Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

The ForSAFE-VEG model was used to investigate the impacts of climate change and air pollution scenarios on soil chemistry and ground vegetations composition. In particular, the model involves a ground vegetation model incorporating plant changes to ambient site conditions in terms of climate and chemistry, but the model also incorporate competition between the different plant groups. The model was validated against observed values and reproduced observations of tree growth, soil chemistry, and ground vegetation compositions to satisfaction. The results show that the ground vegetation reacts strongly to changes in air pollution, in particular nitrogen as well as to climate change with major shifts in plant composition. A procedure for estimating critical loads for nitrogen, using ground vegetation biodiversity as criterion, was tested and the method seems operable. It suggests that if we want to protect the present biodiversity of the ground vegetation, this will face significant difficulties because of permanent climate change that induced changes in the ecosystem. We conclude that the reference state for ground vegetation biodiversity is rather to be sought for in the future, hopefully using models, than in the past or present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-317
JournalWater, Air and Soil Pollution
Volume216
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Chemical Engineering

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Plant competition
  • Air pollution
  • Climate change
  • Integrated ecosystem model

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