Nitrogen Deposition and Terrestrial Biodiversity

Christopher M. Clark*, Yongfei Bai, William D. Bowman, Jane M. Cowles, Mark E. Fenn, Frank S. Gilliam, Gareth K. Phoenix, Ilyas Siddique, Carly J. Stevens, Harald U. Sverdrup, Heather L. Throop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen deposition, along with habitat loss and climate change, constitute a major threat to Earth's biodiversity. Fossil fuel combustion and modern agriculture add more nitrogen to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems than all natural processes combined. Because nitrogen often limits productivity, this enrichment it likely to have major ecological impacts. In terrestrial ecosystems, nitrogen deposition can lead to increased growth of often weedy species, cation depletion in the soil, nutrient imbalances in plant tissue, and soil acidification among other effects. These processes often reduce plant biodiversity and homogenize communities, which can propagate through food webs and impact entire ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biodiversity
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780123847195
ISBN (Print)9780123847201
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Acidification
  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Critical load
  • Eutrophication
  • Fertilizer
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Nitrogen
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Plant
  • Terrestrial


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