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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Nitrogen Control by Landscape structure in Agricultural Environments



To evaluate the natural performance of riparian zones to sustainably buffer water-borne fluxes of diffuse nitrogen pollution from agriculture to aquatic environments and devise a riparian ecosystem management model (REMM) to predict the nitrogen fluxes through these systems applicable to a range of farming and climatic conditions.


1. Measure the nitrogen retention and transformation processes of morphologically similar riparian structures within representative agricultural drainage basins along a climatic gradient to refine the REMM.
2. Predict the rates of change of processes involved in the nitrogen buffering capacity under enviromental changes using the REMM (riparian ecosystem management model)

3. Evaluate the consequences of different landscape change scenarios on the buffering capacities of riparian zones using REMM.

4. Compare the merit of riparian zones with other potential nitrogen buffers in the different study areas.


The project will examine the nitrogen budjet of wooded and meadow grass riparian zones within each country representing by the partners and will quantify their buffering capacity. Since farming regimes constitute the key driving force in undermining or enhancing both spatial distribution and connectivity of riparian zones within agricultural landscapes, hence, the project will assess the interaction between farming systems and riparian function. Scenarios of the consequences of environmental changes on riparian buffering capacities regarding N fluxes will then be developed using the REMM model. Riparian buffering capacities will be compared to other potential buffer structures in the different regions considered.

The partnership therefore consists of five core members, all with specialists experience in riparian landscape ecological research, who have worked together for many years. A further three partners, two from CEEC (Poland & Romania) and Switzerland will undertake work of similar nature.

Within the project framework 10 tasks have clearly identifiable deliverables
Task 1: Provide annual N budget in riparian zones under various climatic conditions
Task 2: Specify the important uptake mechanism under various climatic conditions
Task 3: Define the best hydrological setting for denitrification optimization Task 4: Identify the most suitable riparian canopy to support N buffering capacity
Task 5: Develop a European riparian ecosystem management model Task 6: Provide a prediction tool for N buffering capacities under climatic change
Task 7: Generate a structural analysis of landscapes under different agricultural practices
Task 8: Define the impact of land use changes on riparian buffering capacity Task 9: Develop and validate a method to determine other potential buffer structures
Taskl0: Conclude on the best combinations of nitrogen buffers under given environmental climaticand land use conditions

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