Impact of Hydrologic Variability on Nutrient Age Distribution in Intensively Managed Landscapes

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Praveen Kumar and Dong Kook Woo, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, United States
The distribution, concentration, and transport of nutrients in agricultural landscapes are of significant societal concern. Our interests in reactive nitrogen and the nitrogen cycle have shifted from increasing the efficiency of nitrogen delivery to target crop species to decreasing environmental damage caused by intensive agricultural practices. Enhancing the reactive nitrogen use efficiency to increase food production to meet future demand inevitably contributes to an increase in the reactive nitrogen load in the ecosystem, and damaging the environment. However, due to the complexity of the nitrogen cycle, the dynamics of nitrogen in soils and its interactions with ecohydrological processes at the watershed and regional scales are not well understood to enable adequate remedial measures. To unravel the complexity of this dynamics we have developed a model for characterizing the nitrogen age (elapsed time) distribution. The goal of our study is to develop and analyze the dynamics of nitrogen in the context of age and transit times resulting from advection, mixing, and production/destruction processes; evaluate the effects of micro-topographic variability on the nitrogen age distributions; and investigate how the temporal dynamics of the nitrogen age distribution are affected by changes in the variability of climate drivers. Our study is performed for the Upper Sangamon River Basin in the Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML-CZO).