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Estimation of Nitrogen Budgets for Contrasting Catchments at the Landscape Scale : Volume 9, Issue 7 (23/07/2012)

By Vogt, E.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003973395
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 40
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Estimation of Nitrogen Budgets for Contrasting Catchments at the Landscape Scale : Volume 9, Issue 7 (23/07/2012)  
Author: Vogt, E.
Volume: Vol. 9, Issue 7
Language: English
Subject: Science, Biogeosciences, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Billett, M. F., Rees, R. M., Tang, Y. S., Theobald, M. R., Dragosits, U., Vogt, E.,...Mcdonald, C. (2012). Estimation of Nitrogen Budgets for Contrasting Catchments at the Landscape Scale : Volume 9, Issue 7 (23/07/2012). Retrieved from

Description: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) Edinburgh, Bush Estate, Penicuik, EH26 0QB, UK. A comprehensive assessment of nitrogen (N) flows at the landscape scale is fundamental to understand spatial interactions in the N cascade and to inform the development of locally optimised N management strategies. To explore this interactions, complete N budgets were estimated for two contrasting hydrological catchments (dominated by agricultural grassland vs. semi-natural peat-dominated moorland), forming part of an intensively studied landscape in southern Scotland. Local scale atmospheric dispersion modelling and detailed farm and field inventories provided high resolution estimations of input fluxes. Agricultural inputs (i.e. grazing excreta, organic and synthetic fertiliser) accounted for most of the catchment N inputs with 80% in the grassland and 57% in the moorland catchment, while atmospheric deposition made a significant contribution, particularly in the moorland catchment with 38% of the N inputs. The estimated catchment N budgets highlighted areas of key uncertainty, particularly N2 emissions from denitrification and stream N export. The resulting N balances suggest that the study catchments have a limited capacity to store N within soils, vegetation and groundwater. The catchment N retention, i.e. the amount of N which is either stored within the catchment or lost through atmospheric emissions, was estimated to be 3% of the net anthropogenic input in the moorland and 55% in the grassland catchment. These values contrast with regional scale estimates: catchment retentions of net anthropogenic input estimated within Europe at the regional scale range from 50% to 90% with an average of 82% (Billen et al., 2011). This study emphasises the need for detailed budget analyses to identify the N status of European landscapes.

Estimation of nitrogen budgets for contrasting catchments at the landscape scale

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