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Effects of soil moisture content on upland nitrogen loss

Ouyang, Wei, Xu, Xueting, Hao, Zengchao, Gao, Xiang
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.546 pp. 71-80
Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, highlands, nitrogen, pollution, runoff, soil water content
In recent years, nitrogen (N) loss from upland fields has become one of the most important sources for agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Understanding the relationships between soil hydrological processes and N loss in NPS pollution is vital for controlling the agricultural NPS pollution in upland fields. The objective of this study was to analyze the interaction of N loss with different moisture conditions in the freeze-thaw zone. The semi-distributed hydrologic model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used in this study to simulate runoff and different forms of N loss, which provided a basis for analyzing characteristics of N loss in the study region. Results showed that the soil moisture content was an important factor affecting N loss in the study region. Different forms of N loss were also analyzed and it was found that N loss occurred primarily in the form of organic-N, which is likely due to the dominant role of erosion-induced pollution. This study provides useful information for preventing NPS pollution within the study region.