Vehicular emissions of NOx and NH3 result in elevated concentrations of nitrogen at roadside verges. To determine the extent that vehicular nitrogen emissions, disturbance and management affect the vegetation composition of road verges, a survey of 92 verges in Scotland was carried out with sites stratified by background nitrogen deposition and road type. NO x and NH3 concentrations were monitored at 15 key sites for a year, and showed a decreasing gradient with increasing distance from the road. Ellenberg fertility indices of the vegetation communities also showed a general decrease with increasing distance from the road, but there was no straightforward correlation with NOx and NH3 air concentrations between sites. Cover of bare ground, ruderal species and salt-tolerant species were highest at the verge edge. The proximity of the verge to traffic is important both in terms of NOx and NH3 gradients, but also for deposited salt, grit and physical disturbance.
- Roadside verges