Document Type

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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The deposition of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen (N) in alpine ecosystems can have multiple deleterious effects on plants, soils and hydrology in both the alpine and areas downstream through leaching and export. Thresholds for ecological responses to N deposition have been established for lakes, soils and changes in plant community composition in some areas of the Rocky Mountains. These thresholds offer a target for land and air resource managers to prevent significant changes in ecosystem function, however the underlying feedbacks controlling ecosystem response have not been fully examined. Research originally proposed in association with our UW NPS Small Grant aimed to examine plant to ecosystem interactions within alpine moist meadows between two sites receiving different levels of N deposition. This focus has been modified, in response to site limitations, to examine the mediation of the N cycle by the alpine moist meadow plant community.