Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-294
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-294

  26 Aug 2020

26 Aug 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG and is expected to appear here in due course.

Impacts of fertilization on grassland productivity and water quality across the European Alps: insights from a mechanistic model

Martina Botter1, Matthias Zeeman2, Paolo Burlando1, and Simone Fatichi3 Martina Botter et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Abstract. Alpine grasslands sustain local economy providing fodder for livestock. Intensive fertilization is common to enhance their yields, thus creating negative externalities on water quality that are difficult to evaluate without reliable estimates of nutrient fluxes. We apply a 1-D mechanistic ecosystem model, seamlessly integrating land-surface energy balance, soil hydrology, vegetation dynamics, and soil biogeochemistry aiming at assessing the grassland response to fertilization. We simulate the major water, carbon, nutrient, and energy fluxes of nine grassland plots across the broad European Alpine region. We provide an unprecedent interdisciplinary model evaluation confirming its performance against observed variables from different datasets. Subsequently, we apply the model to test the influence of fertilization practices on grassland yields and nitrate (NO3) losses through leaching. Despite the generally low NO3 concentration in groundwater recharge, the variability across sites is remarkable, mostly, but not exclusively, dictated by elevation. In high-Alpine sites short growing seasons lead to less efficient nitrogen (N) uptake for biomass production. This combined with lower evapotranspiration rates results in higher amounts of drainage and NO3 leaching to groundwater. The local soil hydrology has a crucial role in driving the NO3 use efficiency. The commonly applied fixed-threshold limit on fertilizer N input is suboptimal. We suggest that major hydrological and soil property differences across sites should be considered in the delineation of best practices or regulations for management. Using distributed maps informed with key soil and climatic attributes or systematically implementing integrated ecosystem models as shown here can contribute to achieving more sustainable practices.

Martina Botter et al.

 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Martina Botter et al.

Martina Botter et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 365 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
264 93 8 365 16 7 8
  • HTML: 264
  • PDF: 93
  • XML: 8
  • Total: 365
  • Supplement: 16
  • BibTeX: 7
  • EndNote: 8
Views and downloads (calculated since 26 Aug 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 26 Aug 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 304 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 304 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 24 Feb 2021
Download
Altmetrics