The need for a coupled human and natural systems understanding of agricultural nitrogen loss

Diana Stuart, Bruno Basso, Sandy Marquart-Pyatt, Adam Reimer, G. Philip Robertson, Jinhua Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reactive nitrogen loss from agricultural fertilizer use remains a crucial environmental problem in the United States, contributing to ecosystem degradation and global climate change. This intractable problem requires a coupled human and natural systems approach that combines biophysical, sociological, and economic knowledge into an integrative analysis. Much is known about the biogeochemistry of nitrogen and agricultural nitrogen loss; however, much is not known about how soil variability and climate change will affect farmer decisionmaking. Although it is widely understood that personal values and beliefs, social norms, economics, and policies influence farmer decisionmaking, very little is known about decisionmaking specific to fertilizer management. In addition, little is known about the socioeconomic influences on decisionmaking across scales and how ecological change is perceived and responded to. Combining sociological, economic, and biophysical knowledge can provide key insights regarding how these factors interact and can support more effective strategies to address this persistent problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-578
Number of pages8
JournalBioScience
Volume65
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • agriculture production
  • agroecosystems
  • complex systems
  • interdisciplinary science
  • natural resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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