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Open AccessHypothesis

Nitrogen Pollution and the Meltdown of Urban Ecosystems

Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Científica del Sur, Panamericana Sur km19, Lima 33, Peru
Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
Academic Editor: Daniel W. Schneider
Received: 20 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 5 July 2016
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Urban ecosystems are carrying an extinction debt. Mitigating this debt will require the development of a predictive framework that improves our understanding of the factors causing decline of native biodiversity in urban areas. I argue that nitrogen is a common currency around which such a predictive framework could be built. I first summarise the evidence that shows the probable extent of nitrogen enrichment in urban ecosystems. I then review the body of empirical evidence that describes how nitrogen enrichment affects ecosystem process and function. By unifying these two bodies of empirical evidence, I generate a series of testable hypotheses that may allow for a better understanding of native biodiversity loss in urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; competition; extinction; eutrophication; herbivory; nitrogen; urban ecology biodiversity; competition; extinction; eutrophication; herbivory; nitrogen; urban ecology

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ladd, B. Nitrogen Pollution and the Meltdown of Urban Ecosystems. Land 2016, 5, 23.

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