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Comparison of nitrogen deposition across different land use types in agro-pastoral catchments of western China and Mongolia

Lv, Jinling, Buerkert, Andreas, Benedict, Katherine B., Liu, Guojun, Lv, Chaoyan, Liu, Xuejun
Atmospheric environment 2019 v.199 pp. 313-322
ammonia, ammonium nitrogen, atmospheric chemistry, cropland, land use, nitrate nitrogen, nitrogen, nitrogen dioxide, pastures, watersheds, wet deposition, China, Mongolia
Very few comparative studies on atmospheric dry and wet nitrogen (N) deposition have been conducted in agro-pastoral catchment areas. In an effort to fill this knowledge gap, three interconnected land use types (cropland, mountain pasture, and plain pasture) with six sampling sites (Chinese cropland (CC), Chinese mountain pasture (CM), Chinese plain pasture (CP) Mongolia cropland (MC), Mongolia mountain pasture (MM) and Mongolia plain pasture (MP)) were selected in the transboundary regions of northwest China and western Mongolia. During 16 months from May 2014 to September 2015 atmospheric and precipitation samples were collected to assess levels of nitrogen deposition. Cropland had the highest NO3−N (1.0 mg N L−1 in China and 1.2 mg N L−1 in Mongolia) and NH4+-N concentrations (1.6 mg N L−1 in China and 2.0 mg N L−1 in Mongolia) in our six sampling sites. The CC experienced the highest wet deposition (5.2 kg N ha−1 yr−1), followed by MM pasture (3.2 kg N ha−1 yr−1) while wet deposition in other sites ranged from 2.1 to 2.8 kg N ha−1 yr−1. The ambient concentrations of NH3, NO2 and dry N deposition were significant higher in cropland than being other land use with 3.0, 3.8 and 1.2 μg N m−3 respectively in China and 2.2, 2.8 and 0.6 μg N m−3 respectively in Mongolia. The highest total N deposition was at CC (14.5 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and MC (9.4 kg N ha−1 yr−1), followed by the mountain pasture (5.8–6.8 kg N ha−1 yr−1), and the plains pasture (5.6–5.7 kg N ha−1 yr−1). Overall, agro-pastoral catchments areas had relatively low total N deposition compared to other studies, and cropland had the highest wet and dry N deposition than mountain and plain pastures, and dry N deposition absolutely dominated the percentage (64–70% in cropland and 53–64% in pasture areas) of total atmospheric N deposition. Comparing the total N deposition in China and Mongolia, we found the CC had 54% higher value than in MC while the reverse was true for mountain pastures Mongolia received 17% more N.