Conservation Science Blog

New research relevant to conservation in western North America

The Conservation Science Blog is intended to bring new and relevant research to the attention of conservation scientists, and facilitate discussion on how to apply this science to further conservation goals in western North America.

Costs to ecosystem services from human-caused changes in the nitrogen cycle

A new paper (full paper here) by Compton et al. in Ecology Letters evaluates the costs to ecosystem services due to the many ways in which humans add excess nitrogen into the environment through both non-point sources such as agricultural runoff and point-source pollution from electrical utilities. The authors conclude that “Damage costs outweigh the costs associated with reducing N loading. This provides a strong rationale for mitigation of N pollution and the associated effects on ecosystem services. The fact that these initial estimates (Table 2) are incomplete means that our analysis almost certainly underestimates the societal benefits to mitigating the negative effects of nitrogen pollution.”