Safeguarding Natura 2000 habitats from nitrogen deposition by tackling ammonia emissions from livestock facilities

David De Pue, Jeroen Buysse

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


Nitrogen deposition is one of the main environmental threats to the conservation goals in areas protected by the European Habitats Directive, a problem that is quite pronounced in the livestock-rich region of Flanders, Belgium. Livestock farms are often located close to Natura 2000 areas. Therefore, ammonia emissions from livestock housing and manure storage have a high contribution to the deposition in these nearby protected habitats. In order to control this problem, the Flemish government imposes restrictions on livestock farms that pose a substantial threat to protected habitats nearby. In this paper, we evaluate the effectiveness of this spatially differentiated policy. Using an integrated spatially explicit modeling approach, we were able to show that the effectiveness of this policy is rather limited in terms of reducing the proportion of habitats in exceedance of the critical load for nitrogen. In order to obtain a good status for all sensitive habitats, emission abatement efforts should extend beyond the livestock sector. The effectiveness of the policy is dependent on habitat type and the livestock subsectors contributing to emissions nearby. Furthermore, by means of four different habitat classes, the effectiveness of alternative policy options can be easily assessed on the level of individual habitats.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TijdschriftEnvironmental Science and Policy
Pagina's (van-tot)74-82
Aantal pagina’s9
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - sep.-2020


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