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Status Report 2011

Modelling Critical Threshold and Temporal Changes of Geochemistry and Vegetation Diversity


This report describes the status of the impact assessment (formerly known as ‘ex-post’ assessment) of various sulphur and nitrogen deposition scenarios in Europe and the progress made regarding the relation between nitrogen deposition and changes in geochemistry and plant diversity.

Part 1 Progress CCE

Chapter 1 reports the impacts regarding exceedances of acidification and nitrogen critical loads, including results of the so-called ‘ex-post analysis’. Conclusions include that ‘environmental improvements’ achieved under MFR in comparison to BL are considerable for all indicators. However, it should also be noted that MFR does not lead to non-exceedance of critical loads and requirements for sustainable soil chemistry (i.e. non-violation of the chemical criterion) for all ecosystem areas in Europe. Regarding uncertainties, emphasizing the persistent risk caused by reduced nitrogen, it is concluded that impacts have been shown to be fairly robust over the different versions of the scenarios developed under the Convention in the course of 2011.
Chapter 2 describes the data received from National Focal Centres (NFCs) of the ICP on Modelling and Mapping in response to the 2010/11 Call for Data, the aims of which were: (i) to increase the resolution of critical loads to the 5×5 km2 EMEP grid; (ii) to apply to national nature (conservation) areas the revised empirical critical loads; (iii) to encourage NFCs to relate to national habitat experts, including national focal points in EU Member States responsible for reporting under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive; and (iv) to continue applying the VSD+Veg model (or suitable national models) at sites with sufficient data to explore the suitability of such models for the assessment of air pollution and climate change effects on changes in plant diversity. In total, 18 NFCs responded to (parts of) the call. Chapter 2 also summarises the changes to the European background data base, which is used to compute critical loads and to carry out dynamic modelling for countries that do not provide national contributions. Furthermore, recent developments, such as the potential release of nitrogen from rocks and the interaction between N deposition and fixation are discussed.

Part 2 Progress in Modelling

 This part describes the progress in the development of linking soil chemistry and vegetation models. This is in line with the long-term strategy of the LRTAP Convention which encourages the assessment of the effects of air pollution on changes in geochemistry and, consequently, plant diversity. To this end the VSD+ model, designed for applications with limited data availability, has been further developed, taking into account suggestions by NFCs (chapter 3). The VSD+ model has been linked to the dynamic vegetation model Veg, and in chapter 4 the recent changes to the Veg model are described which, inter alia, should simplify the acquisition of input data. See also Appendix B for guidelines on how to convert information on plants into parameters for the Veg model.

Part 3 NFC Reports

This part brings together the national reports provided by NFCs, describing their contributions to the 2010/11 Call for Data, including their experiences with the application of dynamic soil-vegetation models.



Modelling Critical Thresholds and Temporal Changes of Geochemistry and Vegetation Diversity (pdf, 11 mb)

Author(s) Posch M, Slootweg J, Hettelingh J-P (eds)
Report no. 680359003
Publication date December 2011
ISBN 978-90-6960-254-7
Pages 186
Language English

last update 21 Jan 2014