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Bealey, W.J.; Whitfield, C.

Critical load/level linkages for interest features at UK protected sites (revised 2018)

This is the most recent version of this dataset (view other versions )
This dataset contains the linkages between designated features and their relevant critical loads or levels. The designated features come from the UK network of protected nature sites including:
(i) Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
(ii) Special Protection Areas (SPA)
(iii) Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - England, Scotland, Wales
(iv) Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) - Northern Ireland.

Critical loads and levels are set under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

For nutrient nitrogen critical loads are based on empirical evidence, mainly observations from experiments and targeted gradient studies. These empirical critical loads are assigned to habitat classes of the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) to enable consistency of habitat terminology and understanding across Europe. In order to assign the relevant critical load to Annex I features, A/SSSI habitat features, or habitats of Annex II/SPA features, habitat correspondence tables are used to determine the relationship between the EUNIS classes for which nitrogen critical loads are set and the interest features.

Critical loads of acidity are based on soil and habitat types. They are set for six Broad Habitats; acid grassland, calcareous grassland, dwarf shrub heath, bogs, montane, unmanaged coniferous and broadleaved woodland.

Critical Levels for air pollutants are not habitat specific and have been set to cover broad vegetation types (e.g. forest arable, semi-natural), often with critical values set for sensitive lichens and bryophytes. They have been derived from experiments and observation that show varied effects on vegetation including visible injury symptoms of exposure and species composition changes in semi-natural vegetation.
Publication date: 2018-06-26