Sunday, 17 April 2011

nitrogen damages wildlife

Nitrogen occurs naturally in the air and is benign.

But there is now evidence that man-made nitrogen emitted by cars, industry and intensive agriculture is polluting the air and reducing the range of wild plants - according to the Nitrogen Deposition and Natura 2000 report.

And the effects aren't limited to the areas immediately next to intensive animal units or motorways. Ours is a small and overcrowded island. There is a demonstrably low range of species in our beautiful Peak District as a result of this pollution.

The man-made or 'reactive' nitrogen enriches and acidifies soils encouraging more aggressive species such as grasses, nettles and brambles to flourish at the cost of species that favour nutrient poor conditions.

This photo was taken last year in the orchard area of our new site - cherry trees engulfed by brambles.

And just in case we think that this damage is limited to plant species we may never see or that may never impinge on our lives, it is said that the cost of reactive nitrogen damage in Europe is between £55billion and £280billion a year.

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