Effects of Privately Owned Land Management Practices on Biogeochemical Cycling

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jackie M. Getson1, Lucy Hutyra1, Anne G. Short1, Pamela H Templer1 and David Kittredge2, (1)Boston University, Boston, MA, United States, (2)University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, United States
An increasing fraction of the global population lives in urban settings. Understanding how the human-natural system couple and decouple biogeochemical cycles across urbanization gradients is crucial for human health and environmental sustainability. Natural processes of nutrient deposition, export, uptake, and internal cycling can be disrupted by human activities. Residential landscape management (e.g. composting, leaf litter collection, fertilizer application) interrupts these natural biogeochemical cycles; therefore, it is key to characterize these practices and their impacts. This study looks at private land management practices along a rural to urban gradient in Boston, Massachusetts. We used a mail survey instrument coupled with biogeochemical measurements and remote sensing derived estimates of aboveground biomass to estimate biogeochemical modifications associated with residential landscape management practices. We find parcel size influences management behavior, management practices differ for leaf litter and lawn clippings, and fertilizer application is unrelated to parcel size or degree of urban-ness. These management practices result in nutrient redistribution that differs with residential characteristics.