How are we affecting the nitrogen cycle?



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    Perhaps our greatest alteration to the natural Nitrogen Cycle comes from our overuse of nitrogen rich fertilizers. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for all plants, and it takes time for nitrogen to be replenished in soils. As a result, most large farms have substituted letting the land fallow for spreading tonnes and tonnes of nitrogen fertilizer. Some of this is absorbed by the soils, but a lot of it becomes run-off and pollution. This excess nitrogen can leech into streams, rivers, wells, etc. Not only do animals suffer from the excess of nitrogen in their environment, but plants also have a harder time growing because they are not getting natural nitrogen that would normally be replenished in the soil by a number of other plants and microorganisms. Additionally, as we continue to spread nitrogen, many of these nitrogen fixing organisms are dying, leaving many ecosystems fragmented and vulnerable to ecological collapse.

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