Capture of Atmospheric Ammonium by Grassland Canopies

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Science  12 Feb 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4841, pp. 764-765
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4841.764


Air pollution can cause a decline in species through acidification of the habitat. New data suggest that the decline may be due to eutrophication rather than acidification. In Western Europe, eutrophication largely results from atmospheric ammonium deposition. The amount deposited on vegetation is a function of its canopy structure. Deposition on grasslands has been underestimated, and a significant amount of the deposited ammonium appears to be assimilated by the plant canopy. These quantities are sufficient to initiate changes in the competitive relations among the plant species.