Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.3390/f11101112
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Long- and short-term inorganic nitrogen runoff from a karst catchment in Austria
Author Dirnböck, T.; Brielmann, H.; Djukic, I.; Geiger, S.; Hartmann, A.; Humer, F.; Kobler, J.; Kralik, M.; Liu, Y.; Mirtl, M.; Pröll, G.
Source Titel Forests
Year 2020
Department MET
Volume 11
Issue 10
Page From art. 1112
Language englisch
Keywords LTER; karst water; nitrogen deposition; nitrogen saturation; nitrate; ammonium; runoff; water quality
Abstract Excess nitrogen (N) deposition and gaseous N emissions from industrial, domestic, and agricultural sources have led to increased nitrate leaching, the loss of biological diversity, and has affected carbon (C) sequestration in forest ecosystems. Nitrate leaching affects the purity of karst water resources, which contribute around 50% to Austria’s drinking water supply. Here we present an evaluation of the drivers of dissolved inorganic N (DIN) concentrations and fluxes from a karst catchment in the Austrian Alps (LTER Zöbelboden) from 27 years of records. In addition, a hydrological model was used together with climatic scenario data to predict expected future runoff dynamics. The study area was exposed to increasing N deposition during the 20th century (up to 30 to 35 kg N ha−1 y−1), which are still at levels of 25.5 ± 3.6 and 19.9 ± 4.2 kg N ha−1 y−1 in the spruce and the mixed deciduous forests, respectively. Albeit N deposition was close to or exceeded critical loads for several decades, 70–83% of the inorganic N retained in the catchment from 2000 to 2018, and NO3- concentrations in the runoff stayed <10 mg L−1 unless high-flow events occurred or forest stand-replacing disturbances. We identified tree growth as the main sink for inorganic N, which might together with lower runoff, increase retention of only weakly decreasing N deposition in the future. However, since recurring forest stand-replacement is predicted in the future as a result of a combination of climatically driven disturbance agents, pulses of elevated nitrate concentrations in the catchment runoff will likely add to groundwater pollution.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Dirnböck, T., Brielmann, H., Djukic, I., Geiger, S., Hartmann, A., Humer, F., Kobler, J., Kralik, M., Liu, Y., Mirtl, M., Pröll, G. (2020):
Long- and short-term inorganic nitrogen runoff from a karst catchment in Austria
Forests 11 (10), art. 1112 10.3390/f11101112