Changes in natural areas: from conditions to quality

26-06-2008 | Publication

Abiotic conditions in natural areas have improved since 1990, with the extent of improvement varying with the different abiotic conditions in the natural areas. This could be concluded from a study on the effects of abiotic changes on the quality of nature documented in this recent report describing abiotic changes in natural areas in the Netherlands over the last 15 years. Changes in acidification, eutrophication, lowering of groundwater tables and fragmentation were addressed.

Firm reduction of nutrient load on nature, less success on drought

The amount of nitrogen deposition in natural areas has been reduced by 34%, a reduction resulting in a 54% lower level of exceedance of the critical loads. The surplus of nitrogen and phosphate in surface water, relative to the desired concentrations, has decreased by 41%. Little progress has been made with respect to raising the groundwater tables, which is needed for restoration of wet ecosystems. The spatial connectivity of natural areas has increased since 1990. Although these changes in abiotic conditions seem to have resulted in positive changes in species occurrence and thus quality of natural areas, not all types of ecosystems and species groups have profited in a similar way.

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