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Hall, J.

Critical loads of acidity and nutrient nitrogen for UK habitats

The data provide critical loads of acidity, and of nutrient nitrogen for the distributions of UK habitats sensitive to acidification and/or eutrophication. Critical loads have been calculated and applied to UK natural and semi-natural habitats sensitive to acidification and/or eutrophication (excess nitrogen as a nutrient). Critical loads data are available for these habitat types at 1x1 km resolution for the UK. In addition, acidity critical loads are available for 1752 selected freshwater sites throughout the UK. Critical loads are defined as the maximum pollutant load (of acid or nitrogen deposition) that a sensitive element of the environment (e.g., soils, vegetation) can tolerate without adverse harmful effects occurring, according to present knowledge.

Habitat distributions are defined from a combination of CEH Land Cover Map 2000 and a number of ancillary data sets (e.g., species distributions, altitude, soils), used to further refine their distributions. It should be noted that the habitat distributions maps and areas provided here and used for UK critical loads research for Defra (a) only include areas where data exist for the calculation or derivation of critical loads; (b) may differ from other national habitat distribution maps or estimates of habitat areas. This may also result in a difference in the total habitat areas mapped for acidity and for nutrient nitrogen critical loads.

The data have been generated under numerous Defra-funded contracts that brought together UK experts on the impacts of air pollution on UK habitats. The acidity critical loads data were last revised in 2004 and the nutrient nitrogen critical loads data were updated in 2011. The data are based on methods agreed at national and international meetings and workshops held under the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP).
Publication date: 2018-08-06