skip to main content

Title: Use of Combined Biogeochemical Model Approaches and Empirical Data to Assess Critical Loads of Nitrogen

Empirical and dynamic biogeochemical modelling are complementary approaches for determining the critical load (CL) of atmospheric nitrogen (N) or other constituent deposition that an ecosystem can tolerate without causing ecological harm. The greatest benefits are obtained when these approaches are used in combination. Confounding environmental factors can complicate the determination of empirical CLs across depositional gradients, while the experimental application of N amendments for estimating the CL does not realistically mimic the effects of chronic atmospheric N deposition. Biogeochemical and vegetation simulation models can provide CL estimates and valuable ecosystem response information, allowing for past and future scenario testing with various combinations of environmental factors, pollutants, pollutant control options, land management, and ecosystem response parameters. Even so, models are fundamentally gross simplifications of the real ecosystems they attempt to simulate. Empirical approaches are vital as a check on simulations and CL estimates, to parameterize models, and to elucidate mechanisms and responses under real world conditions. In this chapter, we provide examples of empirical and modelled N CL approaches in ecosystems from three regions of the United States: mixed conifer forest, desert scrub and pinyon- juniper woodland in California; alpine catchments in the Rocky Mountains; and lakes in the Adirondack regionmore » of New York state.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Pacific Southwest Research Station, Riverside, CA
  2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse (SUNY-ESF)
  3. Syracuse University
  4. University of California, Riverside
  5. University of Arizona
  6. ORNL
  7. E & S Environmental Chemistry, Inc.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Springer, Netherlands, Netherlands
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States