Volume 95 Issue 16 | pp. 16-19
Issue Date: April 17, 2017

Can nitrogen clean up its act on farmlands?

Agricultural nitrogen pollution is widespread in the U.S., but farmers can adopt new practices to prevent it
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: agriculture, nitrogen pollution, dead zones, fertilizers, nitrapyrin, cover crops, wetlands

A dead zone forms in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico every summer. This low-oxygen, or hypoxic, area can stretch for 20,000 km2 some years, with significant consequences for the Gulf’s ecosystems and economy.

Hypoxia puts the multibillion-dollar tourism and fishing industries of the Gulf states at risk, but the problem starts far to the north. The Gulf dead zone feeds on the runoff of nutrients, . . .

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Katherine Bourzac is a freelance journalist in San Francisco.

 
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