From Forests to Water Supplies, Researchers Evaluate Tools for Predicting Nitrogen Fertilizer Runoff

 
From Forests to Water Supplies, Researchers Evaluate Tools for Predicting Nitrogen Fertilizer Runoff

Plants require nitrogen to grow and thrive, and often receive a boost from applications of nitrogen-containing fertilizer. But increased plant growth and yield can be at the expense of water quality when fertilizer runs off into rivers, lakes, and streams. A group of researchers reviewed a series of models used to predict nitrogen’s movement from managed forests through the surrounding environment, identifying the strengths and limitations of each model. The researchers concluded that, given landscape and management complexities, no single model can adequately address nitrogen’s fate following fertilizer use in southern U.S. forests. Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun is among the co-authors of this Southern Research Station-led study, and researchers tested one of the models using a Center research site in coastal North Carolina consisting of loblolly pine plantations. Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: A managed loblolly pine plantation - Photo by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

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