Contribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition to diffuse pollution in a typical hilly red soil catchment in southern China

Jianlin Shen , Jieyun Liu , Yong Li , Yuyuan Li , Yi Wang , Xuejun Liu , Jinshui Wu


Received October 29, 2013,Revised April 08, 2014, Accepted , Available online September 10, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 1797-1805

Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is currently high and meanwhile diffuse N pollution is also serious in China. The correlation between N deposition and riverine N export and the contribution of N deposition to riverine N export were investigated in a typical hilly red soil catchment in southern China over a two-year period. N deposition was as high as 26.1 to 55.8 kg N/(ha·yr) across different land uses in the studied catchment, while the riverine N exports ranged from 7.2 to 9.6 kg N/(ha·yr) in the forest sub-catchment and 27.4 to 30.3 kg N/(ha·yr) in the agricultural sub-catchment. The correlations between both wet N deposition and riverine N export and precipitation were highly positive, and so were the correlations between NH4+-N or NO3--N wet deposition and riverine NH4+-N or NO3--N exports except for NH4+-N in the agricultural sub-catchment, indicating that N deposition contributed to riverine N export. The monthly export coefficients of atmospheric deposited N from land to river in the forest sub-catchment (with a mean of 14%) presented a significant positive correlation with precipitation, while the monthly contributions of atmospheric deposition to riverine N export (with a mean of 18.7% in the agricultural sub-catchment and a mean of 21.0% in the whole catchment) were significantly and negatively correlated with precipitation. The relatively high contribution of N deposition to diffuse N pollution in the catchment suggests that efforts should be done to control anthropogenic reactive N emissions to the atmosphere in hilly red soil regions in southern China.

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