Boreal coniferous forests have been impacted by long distance airborne pollutant deposition for most of the 20th century. Changes in forest understorey vegetation attributable to N-deposition have been observed in southern Sweden, but not so far in southern Norway. We recorded the quantity of all species of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens in 144 plots in a fertilization experiment in a 35-yr old Pinus sylvestris forest in Aust Agder County, southernNorway initiated 6 yr before our study. Each plot represented a combination of three levels of nitrogen, two levels of magnesium and two levels of phosphorus addition. Effects of fertilization on species quantity were tested by Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis by ranks. For vascular plants, only small and hardly significant differences were found between treatments and control. Significant negative effects of N-fertilization were found on both mosses and lichens. To some extent, these effects could be attributed to direct effects of application of the fertilizer, but were more likely to be due to a negative feedback response to the faster growth of pine trees in fertilized stands, reducing throughfall precipitation and increasing litter fall. Significant differences between Mg- and P-fertilized sites and respective controls were found for too few species to be likely to represent an overall trend.
Nomenclature: Vascular plants: Lid & Lid (1994); Bryophytes: Frisvoll et al. (1995); Lichens: Krog et al. (1994), except that Cladonia chlorophaea agg. may include C. chlorophaea (Flörke ex Sommerf.) Spreng., C. merochlorophaea Asah., C. cryptochlorophaea Asah., C. grayi Merr. ex Sandst. & C. pyxidata (L.) Hoffm.