Harmens H, Norris DA, Cooper DM, Mills G, Steinnes E, Kubin E, Thöni L, Aboal JR, Alber R, Carballeira A, Coşkun M, De Temmerman L, Frolova M, González-Miqueo L, Jeran Z, Leblond S, Liiv S, Maňkovská B, Pesch R, Poikolainen J, Rühling Å Santamaria JM, Simončič P, Schröder W, Suchara I, Yurukova L, Zechmeister HG (2011) Nitrogen concentrations in mosses indicate the spatial distribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition in Europe. Environmental Pollution, 159 (10): 2852-2860. [10.1016/j.envpol.2011.04.041]


Biomonitoring;EMEP maps;Moss survey;Nitrogen deposition


In 2005/6, nearly 3000 moss samples from (semi-)natural location across 16 European countries were collected for nitrogen analysis. The lowest total nitrogen concentrations in mosses (<0.8%) were observed in northern Finland and northern UK. The highest concentrations (?1.6%) were found in parts of Belgium, France, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. The asymptotic relationship between the nitrogen concentrations in mosses and EMEP modelled nitrogen deposition (averaged per 50 km × 50 km grid) across Europe showed less scatter when there were at least five moss sampling sites per grid. Factors potentially contributing to the scatter are discussed. In Switzerland, a strong (r2 = 0.91) linear relationship was found between the total nitrogen concentration in mosses and measured site-specific bulk nitrogen deposition rates. The total nitrogen concentrations in mosses complement deposition measurements, helping to identify areas in Europe at risk from high nitrogen deposition at a high spatial resolution.

LWF Classification

Network: LWF, Sites: Beatenberg;Celerina;Chironico;Lausanne;Nationalpark;Othmarsingen;Schänis;Visp;Vordemwald, Category: ISI,