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Mapping ammonia risk on sensitive habitats in Ireland
- Kelleghan, David B., Hayes, Enda T., Everard, Mark, Curran, Thomas P.
- The Science of the total environment 2019 v.649 pp. 1580-1589
- ammonia, compliance, cost effectiveness, emissions, environmental quality, geographic information systems, habitats, lichens, marshes, models, monitoring, risk, screening, Ireland, United Kingdom
- The aim of this study was to provide a simple, cost-effective, risk-based map of terrestrial areas in Ireland where environmental quality may be at risk from atmospheric ammonia. This risk-based approach identifies Natura 2000 sites in Ireland at risk from agricultural atmospheric ammonia, collating best available data using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In mapping ammonia risk on sensitive habitats (MARSH), the method identifies sources of ammonia, classifying them on a scale of risk from 0 to 5. These sources are subsequently summed based on a weighting determined by their contribution to national emissions divided by their potentially impacted area. A Pearson's correlation coefficient of 0.72 allows for concentrations from United Kingdom's FRAME modelling to be applied to the MARSH model, which are corrected based on recent monitoring. Applying Designation Weighted Indicators (DWI), the MARSH model predicts that 80.7, 34.3 and 5.9% of Natura 2000 sites in Ireland may exceed ambient concentrations of 1, 2, and 3 μg/m3, respectively. A Nitroindex map of Ireland based on available lichen records was also developed and is presented as part of this study. This Nitroindex was used to identify areas where impacts have already been recorded, thus informing the classification of sites “at-risk”. The combination of both the MARSH and Nitroindex models ascertains which Natura 2000 sites are most at risk, thereby providing valuable data to relevant authorities. The MARSH model acts as a first step towards screening and assessing Natura 2000 sites most at risk from atmospheric ammonia, providing a tool to demonstrate compliance with the National Emissions Ceilings Directive.