Calibrating Ellenberg indicator values for moisture, acidity, nutrient availability and salinity in the Netherlands

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Abstract

A general calibration of Ellenberg indicator values for moisture, acidity, nutrient availability and salinity was carried out on a large database of relevées and environmental variables from a variety of ecosystems in the Netherlands.

Satisfying relationships with Ellenberg indicator values for moisture, acidity and salinity were found for mean groundwater level in spring time, soil pH and chloride concentration in groundwater. For mean groundwater level in spring and chloride concentration in groundwater subdivision of the database led to clearer relationships with indicator values. For the Ellenberg indicator value for nutrient availability satisfying calibration results were only achieved with data on standing crops and N stock in standing crop. The relationship with soil chemical variables was less clear.

Although the correlation between indicator and measured values is obvious, the variation around the regression lines is considerable. However, because of the size and composition of the database, it is unlikely that our calibration results can be much improved by adding more (Dutch) data.

The calibration results will be applied in the multi-stress model SMART-MOVE, developed to predict changes in species composition due to acidification, eutrophication and the effects of lowering groundwater.

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