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N deposition as a threat to the World's protected areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity

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Published copy (DOI)


  • A. Bleeker
  • J.W. Erisman
  • W.K. Hicks
  • F. Dentener
  • J. Galloway


Publication details

JournalEnvironmental Pollution
DatePublished - 1 Oct 2011
Issue number10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)2280-2288
Original languageEnglish


This paper combines the world's protected areas (PAs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), common classification systems of ecosystem conservation status, and current knowledge on ecosystem responses to nitrogen (N) deposition to determine areas most at risk. The results show that 40% (approx. 11% of total area) of PAs currently receive >10 kg N/ha/yr with projections for 2030 indicating that this situation is not expected to change. Furthermore, 950 PAs are projected to receive >30 kg N/ha/yr by 2030 (approx. twice the 2000 number), of which 62 (approx. 11,300 km ) are also Biodiversity Hotspots and G200 ecoregions; with forest and grassland ecosystems in Asia particularly at risk. Many of these sites are known to be sensitive to N deposition effects, both in terms of biodiversity changes and ecosystem services they provide. Urgent assessment of high risk areas identified in this study is recommended to inform the conservation efforts of the CBD.

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