Potential vulnerability of 348 herbaceous species to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the United States

Christopher M. Clark, Samuel M. Simkin, Edith B. Allen, William D. Bowman, Jayne Belnap, Matthew L. Brooks, Scott L. Collins, Linda H. Geiser, Frank S. Gilliam, Sarah E. Jovan, Linda H. Pardo, Bethany K. Schulz, Carly J. Stevens, Katharine N. Suding, Heather Throop, Donald M. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur pollution increased over much of the United States during the twentieth century from fossil fuel combustion and industrial agriculture. Despite recent declines, nitrogen and sulfur deposition continue to affect many plant communities in the United States, although which species are at risk remains uncertain. We used species composition data from >14,000 survey sites across the contiguous United States to evaluate the association between nitrogen and sulfur deposition and the probability of occurrence for 348 herbaceous species. We found that the probability of occurrence for 70% of species was negatively associated with nitrogen or sulfur deposition somewhere in the contiguous United States (56% for N, 51% for S). Of the species, 15% and 51% potentially decreased at all nitrogen and sulfur deposition rates, respectively, suggesting thresholds below the minimum deposition they receive. Although more species potentially increased than decreased with nitrogen deposition, increasers tended to be introduced and decreasers tended to be higher-value native species. More vulnerable species tended to be shorter with lower tissue nitrogen and magnesium. These relationships constitute predictive equations to estimate critical loads. These results demonstrate that many herbaceous species may be at risk from atmospheric deposition and can inform improvements to air quality policies in the United States and globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-705
Number of pages9
JournalNature Plants
Volume5
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

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atmospheric deposition
sulfur
nitrogen
air quality
fossil fuels
combustion
plant communities
magnesium
indigenous species
pollution
agriculture
species diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Cite this

Clark, C. M., Simkin, S. M., Allen, E. B., Bowman, W. D., Belnap, J., Brooks, M. L., ... Waller, D. M. (2019). Potential vulnerability of 348 herbaceous species to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the United States. Nature Plants, 5(7), 697-705. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-019-0442-8

Potential vulnerability of 348 herbaceous species to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the United States. / Clark, Christopher M.; Simkin, Samuel M.; Allen, Edith B.; Bowman, William D.; Belnap, Jayne; Brooks, Matthew L.; Collins, Scott L.; Geiser, Linda H.; Gilliam, Frank S.; Jovan, Sarah E.; Pardo, Linda H.; Schulz, Bethany K.; Stevens, Carly J.; Suding, Katharine N.; Throop, Heather; Waller, Donald M.

In: Nature Plants, Vol. 5, No. 7, 01.07.2019, p. 697-705.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Clark, CM, Simkin, SM, Allen, EB, Bowman, WD, Belnap, J, Brooks, ML, Collins, SL, Geiser, LH, Gilliam, FS, Jovan, SE, Pardo, LH, Schulz, BK, Stevens, CJ, Suding, KN, Throop, H & Waller, DM 2019, 'Potential vulnerability of 348 herbaceous species to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the United States', Nature Plants, vol. 5, no. 7, pp. 697-705. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-019-0442-8
Clark, Christopher M. ; Simkin, Samuel M. ; Allen, Edith B. ; Bowman, William D. ; Belnap, Jayne ; Brooks, Matthew L. ; Collins, Scott L. ; Geiser, Linda H. ; Gilliam, Frank S. ; Jovan, Sarah E. ; Pardo, Linda H. ; Schulz, Bethany K. ; Stevens, Carly J. ; Suding, Katharine N. ; Throop, Heather ; Waller, Donald M. / Potential vulnerability of 348 herbaceous species to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the United States. In: Nature Plants. 2019 ; Vol. 5, No. 7. pp. 697-705.
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