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Effects of farm heterogeneity and methods for upscaling on modelled nitrogen losses in agricultural landscapes

By T. Dalgaard, N. Hutchings, U. Dragosits, J.E. Olesen, C. Kjeldsen, J.L. Drouet and P. Cellier


The aim of this study is to illustrate the importance of farm scale heterogeneity on nitrogen (N) losses in agricultural landscapes. Results are exemplified with a chain of N models calculating farm-N balances and distributing the N-surplus to N-losses (volatilisation, denitrification, leaching) and soil-N accumulation/release in a Danish landscape. Possible non-linearities in upscaling are assessed by comparing average model results based on (i) individual farm level calculations and (ii) averaged inputs at landscape level. Effects of the non-linearities that appear when scaling up from farm to landscape are demonstrated. Especially in relation to ammonia losses the non-linearity between livestock density and N-loss is significant (p > 0.999), with around 20–30% difference compared to a scaling procedure not taking this non-linearity into account. A significant effect of farm type on soil N accumulation (p > 0.95) was also identified and needs to be included when modelling landscape level N-fluxes and greenhouse gas emission

Topics: Atmospheric Sciences, Agriculture and Soil Science
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.02.043
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