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Impacts of fertilization on grassland productivity and water quality across the European Alps under current and warming climate: Insights from a mechanistic model

Botter, Martina; Zeeman, Matthias; Burlando, Paolo; Fatichi, Simone

Abstract:
Alpine grasslands sustain local economy by 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 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 interdisciplinary model evaluation by 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 (NO$_{3}$$^{-}$) losses through leaching under both current and modified climate scenarios. Despite the generally low NO$_{3}$$^{-}$ concentration in groundwater recharge, the variability across sites is remarkable, which is mostly (but not exclusively) dictated by elevation. In high-Alpine sites, short growing seasons lead to less efficient nitrogen (N) uptake for biomass production. ... mehr

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Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000131140
Veröffentlicht am 08.04.2021
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung (IMK)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsjahr 2021
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1726-4170, 1726-4189
KITopen-ID: 1000131140
Erschienen in Biogeosciences
Verlag Copernicus Publications
Band 18
Heft 6
Seiten 1917-1939
Nachgewiesen in Scopus
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