Special Issue "Nitrogen Removal in Agricultural Watersheds: Through Agricultural Practices and Phytodepuration"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.
Interests: nitrogen cycling; eutrophication; sustainable agriculture; phytodepuration; aquatic ecosystem restoration
Interests: nitrogen cycling; benthic metabolism; rhizosphere; denitrification; watershed nutrient budgets; eutrophication
In the last decades several studies from different disciplines have proven that the loss of reactive nitrogen from diffuse sources is one of the most serious threats to superficial and groundwater quality in industrialized and emerging countries, with multiple detrimental impacts on both ecosystems and human health. Notwithstanding this, eutrophication and groundwater nitrate contamination remain an unsolved issue and directives and international agreements have mostly failed to achieve the proposed amelioration goals.
The high performance of modern agriculture has been boosted by enhancing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer and the efficiency of irrigation. The latter has been made possible through the hydraulic streamlining of more and more ecologically simplified canal networks. In most cases, this has corresponded to the quantitative removal of aquatic vegetation and thus the loss of related ecosystem services, such as nitrogen removal via denitrification. On this view, it is not too speculative to hypothesize cascading effects to transitional and coastal zones, often underestimated or not considered at all, due to the reduction of denitrification capacity at the catchment scale.
To promote effective nitrogen excess mitigation strategies, we have to reconsider both the pathways of nitrogen load generation in watersheds and the buffer mechanisms in hydraulic networks. There are open questions concerning the parameters regulating denitrification in soil–aquifer systems, relative measurement methods, and the parameters regulating N removal via denitrification through microorganism–plant interactions in aquatic environments (i.e. drainage networks, wetlands, lagoons).
The general aim of this Special Issue is thus to add experimental and synthesised knowledge on the regulation of buffering capacity against nitrogen loads, both in groundwater and superficial waters. This calls for thematic and multidisciplinary contributions from a wide range of disciplines (e.g. biogeochemistry, hydrogeology, agronomy, engineering, environmental sciences, economy, etc.) focused on the following topics: regulation and parametrization of depuration capacity in drainage networks and its integration with modern canal management; insights on nitrogen retention/removal mechanisms in soil–aquifer systems, in relation to the specificity of hydrological regimes and agricultural and irrigation practices; economic analysis of the above-cited phenomena, with reference to eutrophication effects in terminal water bodies.
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Castaldelli
Dr. Elisa Soana
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Agricultural watersheds
- Nitrate pollution
- N retention
- Drainage networks
- Aquatic vegetation