Nitrogen: Too Much of a Good Thing
- Ecosystem Ecologist, US Geological Survey
- Senior Research Ecologist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
The mass production of reactive nitrogen since 1950 has been both an enormous boon for society and a growing bane. We are experiencing a major disruption of the global nitrogen cycle, with ecological ramifications that include fertilization and acidification of freshwaters, hypoxia, increased forest and grassland productivity, and loss of biodiversity. Among the world's hotspots where excess nitrogen is having measurable effects is in the Rocky Mountains above the Colorado Front Range. This talk will present current understandings of sources, ecological consequences, and policy options for reversing the trend of increasing nitrogen emissions.